Police force apologises after criticising man for wearing jeans while doing exercise in lockdown

South Yorkshire Police has apologised after it received a backlash for criticising someone for wearing jeans while out exercising. (Getty)
South Yorkshire Police has apologised after it received a backlash for criticising someone for wearing jeans while out exercising. (Getty)

A police force has apologised after it criticised a man for wearing jeans for exercising during the coronavirus lockdown.

South Yorkshire Police issued an alert summarising some of the checks officers had been carrying out on people suspected of breaching lockdown restrictions.

The message, which has since been removed, said: "Tonight has seen us checking people’s reasons for being on the streets.

"Between essential saunter in jeans as exercise, an essential trip to the shops for egg custards and essential trip to the cash machine for £20 to use in the morning, we’ve offered a lot of advice."

The message went on to say that anyone who had received a warning would also receive a fine.

It ended up urging people to: “stick to the restrictions”, adding: “If you’re out at the same time as us, we’ll be checking.”

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how coronavirus is spreading

The message sparked criticism from online commentators concerned at police overstepping their powers, including the Network for Police Monitoring – a coalition that monitors excessive, intimidating or violent policing.

Sharing the alert on Twitter, the group said: “The wrong kind of jeans for exercise. Honestly, it's becoming embarrassing now #PolicingTheCoronaState.”

Other critics pointed out that no rules have been issued on what people can wear to exercise,

South Yorkshire Police, which last month sparked a backlash after one of its officers was filmed telling a father-of-two that he couldn’t use his own front garden in Rotherham during lockdown, has since apologised for the alert.

Chief Superintendent Shaun Morley said: “A message has been issued on SYP Alerts which is not in keeping with our approach.

“We have been very clear in our expectations that officers should engage and encourage residents on the new restrictions.

“Further training will be provided to the officer to ensure they are clear on our position. We apologise for any confusion caused by this alert.”

Last week, data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council showed that more than 9,000 fines have been issued across England and Wales for people breaking lockdown restrictions.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter