Yes - we know the police have a difficult job here. There are so few of them.
Yes - most of us would agree that we need our communities to observe the constraints of social separation and thankfully, most do conform to the restrictions under the new rules. They are all essential and all are to the common good.
We live in a nation governed by rule of law and policing is by consent. Many Police Services have deployed policies which provide maximum encouragement to comply and where that fails to take an enforcement route as an absolute last resort. Some have demonstrably made no attempt to charge anyone.
So hopefully, this case, where police did not establish whether the woman could speak or understand English and the court could not know if she had any mental health issues, is an isolated example. But bad practice it undoubtedly is. And serves to undermine people's' confidence in what they perceive to be a Police Service that protects them by consent.
Her conviction is to be quashed after police admitted that the wrong law was used to prosecute her, and the case “shouldn’t have happened”.
The Independent has learned that Ms Dinou was not even in the courtroom when a judge found the offence proven after reading statements from British Transport Police (BTP) on Monday.
The court made to [sic] formal effort to confirm that she spoke English.
“Defendant refuses to identify herself, sent back to cells and proved in absence,” read a short official account of the hearing.
Frankly and retrospectively, the police explored no options whatsoever. Confronted by what they thought was a person who would not speak to them, they reached a conclusion she was "refusing" to co-operate and moved to arrest her without establishing whether she understood what they were saying to her.“Having explored all options, Ms Dinou was arrested on suspicion of breaching the restrictions imposed under the Coronavirus Act 2020.”
But official guidance issued to officers by the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs’ Council states that “there is no power to ‘stop and account’” under the new laws.
Then this following caveat is revealed. Can this be right ?
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/c ... 44311.htmlBut the law can only apply to “potentially infectious persons” and is separate to the newer Health Protection Regulations that allow police to enforce the UK lockdown.