Leicester police say they 'don't know' how to enforce local coronavirus lockdown

Leicester has been put in lockdown. (AP)
Leicester has been put in lockdown. (AP)

The Leicestershire Police Federation chairman has said the force’s officers “don't know” how to enforce the local coronavirus lockdown.

Restrictions were increased in Leicester on Monday following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area. 

But the city’s police federation chairman Dave Stokes has revealed his colleagues are not sure how to implement the lockdown and are waiting for a change in the law, expected imminently.

When asked how the force would enforce lockdown, he told Sky News: “We don’t know.

“And that’s simply because we are waiting for the government strategy and the legislation, which will obviously support us locally about how we are going to police it. 

“It’s a moving picture and I’m sure the information will be fed down but at the moment that clarity isn’t there.”

Read more: Warning over COVID-19 ‘illusion’ amid fears of more local lockdowns

Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the people of Leicester for their “forbearance” in accepting the return of controls including the shutting of non-essential shops and the closure of schools to most children.

There was frustration, however, among businesses at having to turn away customers just as the rest of England was preparing for a further opening up with the return of pubs, restaurants and cinemas on Saturday.

During PMQs on Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blamed the prime minister for a "lost week while the virus was spreading" after alleging local authorities were not given full coronavirus data.

The PM rejected this claim, adding: “The Right Honourable Gentleman is mistaken. Both pillar 1 and pillar 2 data have been shared, not just in Leicester but in all authorities across the country.”

Testing carried out in NHS and Public Health England (PHE) labs is known as pillar 1 and all community testing, drive-throughs and tests sent to people’s homes are pillar 2.

Read more: PM to face Commons grilling after ministers order Leicester lockdown

There has been a spike in coronavirus infections in Leicester. (AP)
There has been a spike in coronavirus infections in Leicester. (AP)

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government had no choice but to impose a city-wide lockdown after a series of targeted measures – including working with factories which had seen a spike in cases – failed to halt the spread.

“It was clear that we needed to take this further action,” he said following talks in Whitehall on Tuesday.

“I understand that people in Leicester have difficulties – especially when the rest of the country is having lockdown measures lifted – that they are going to be asked to stay at home for that much longer.

“But it is profoundly in the interests of people in Leicester and across the country that we get this virus under control.”

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby criticised the government and PHE for delays in sharing case and testing data which showed how the disease was spreading.

The British Medical Association said the government needs be “more open and transparent with local COVID-19 data” and over how spikes will be dealt with in future.

Members of the army work at a coronavirus testing station set up in Victoria Park in Leicester. (AP)
Members of the army work at a coronavirus testing station set up in Victoria Park in Leicester. (AP)

A PHE regional map for testing across England shows the towns and cities suffering high numbers of cases.

The data covers all mass testing in England.

The map shows that the worst affected regions (with at least 45 cases per 100,000 people in the week to 21 June) are Leicester – which went into further lockdown on Tuesday – Barnsley, Bradford and Rochdale.

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