Police say lockdown Brits CAN buy booze & non-essential goods despite threats to search baskets


POLICE have told Brits they CAN buy booze and non-essential goods despite threats to search baskets. 

The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and College of Policing have laid down what are “reasonable” excuses to leave home – and when people are allowed to sit on benches.

Police guidance says Brits can only sit briefly on benches to rest
Police enter a supermarket in Manchester
Police patrol St James’ park in London today

The guidance was quietly introduced last week after a woman was arrested for sitting on a park bench, claiming she was “exercising mentally”.

According to the advice, police can’t decide what is and isn’t allowed to be bought at supermarkets.

People are free to buy booze, “luxury” items and snacks.

It said: “there is no need for all a person’s shopping to be basic food supplies… if a person is already out of the address with good reason, then it would not be proportionate to prevent the person buying non-essential items.”

Popping out to grab takeaways is still allowed as well.

But leaving home just to buy a non-essential item could be restricted.

The guidance said people should either be “buying several days’ worth of food” or “buying a small amount of a staple item or necessity”.

It gives the examples of newspapers, pet food, bread, or milk as staple items.

All those in lockdown hoping to do up their homes will have to find another pastime – going out to buy paint or brushes “simply to redecorate” would probably not be considered reasonable according to the guidance.

But buying tools or supplies to fix “a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather” is still allowed.

The guidance ruled out hanging out on park benches as well.

Brits are allowed to sit down for a moment to catch their breath or eat their lunch, but only if they are on a long walk.

“A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period” is not considered reasonable.

Brits are allowed to drive to exercise

Police shouldn’t be patrolling whether people are buying “essential goods”
A man ignores social distancing advice not to sunbathe

It also said people ARE allowed to drive to exercise, including to the countryside, but only where “more time is spent walking than driving”.

The new guidance has come after accusations of over-zealous policing of Brits. 

Downing Street slapped down policing tactics, saying stores are “free to sell what they stock” after officers from Cambridge Police patrolled “non-essential aisles” for shoppers.

Last weekend, a police force had to apologise after one of its officers told a family they couldn’t use their own front garden.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley was forced to backtrack after saying cops could “start” to “marshal supermarkets and check the items in baskets.”

He said last week the public had enjoyed a “three-week grace period” and said his force would slap fines and arrest those caught outside for non-essential reasons.

He said: “We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks.

“We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and check the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it’s a necessary item.

“But be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I’m making today, we will start to do that.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel has repeatedly refused to give in to police chiefs’ demands for even more power, saying earlier this week they already had enough measures for enforcement.

Cambridge Police sparked blacklash this morning after tweeting about patrolling in a Tesco this morning

Cambridge Police sparked blacklash after tweeting about patrolling in a Tesco