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21 April 2020, 15:18 | Updated: 21 April 2020, 16:01
Should you report your neighbours for disobeying social distancing rules? And how do you do it?
The UK is currently on lockdown to slow the outbreak of coronavirus and save lives.
But while most of us have been following the rules, a minority of Brits have been ignoring the government guidelines on social distancing and still meeting with their friends and congregating outside.
So, how do you report someone who is not social distancing? And should you report your neighbours? Here's what you need to know...
The government's website states there are only four reasons you should leave your house:
- shopping for basic necessities, such as food
- medical reasons
- exercise such as walking, running or cycling once per day
- travelling to work if you are a key worker or absolutely cannot work from home
When you do leave your house, you should remain at least two metres away from everyone else.
If you see large groups regularly gathering and deliberately ignoring these rules, there are various actions you can take.
A number of police forces have set up specific pages for reporting people in their areas, to take the strain off the existing police non-emergency 101 phone number for reporting crime.
For example, Greater Manchester Police launched their page, but they pointed out: "We're seeking to resolve these situations without resorting to enforcement and issuing fines."
A form can be submitted advising of gatherings that are going against the current guidance - so this is the best place to start.
Reports are then assessed based on the information provided and the reports will either be followed up, or local police will decide not to.
However, these pages have urged people to only use the forms if there is an issue or breach which you think they need to know about.
Cambridgeshire’s portal states: “This may be a large gathering or a large group of individuals repeatedly ignoring the restrictions.
“Do not use this form to report minor infringements.”
After the UK government announced lockdown rules on March 23, police were given powers to fine people - and are even able to arrest people for not complying.
People who break the lockdown rules could receive a £60 fine, which would be reduced to £30 if they are paid within two weeks.
A second offence would cost £120, with the penalty doubling for additional breaches.
Those who do not pay fines could even be taken to court, where magistrates will be able to impose unlimited fines.
And, if an individual continues to refuse to comply, police may arrest them.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "The prime minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.
"All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.
"That's why I'm giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe."