POLICE were today spotted enforcing the UK's coronavirus lockdown as they broke up groups and shut up shops.
Cops were seen patrolling the streets up and down the country as they began to impose Boris Johnson's string of drastic measures introduced in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the deadly bug.
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In one incident, officers were seen shutting a store in Hackney, North East London – seen standing by the mobile phone kiosk in Dalston as employees packed it away about 11.20am today.
Sharing the video, an Evening Standard reporter said: "Met Police shutting down a mobile phone kiosk in Dalston.
"Taking the lockdown seriously. Communications not considered essential."
And in another incident in the capital, mounted officers were seen asking a customer to wait outside a bakery while another was being served to comply with the social distancing policies.
The cop could be seen putting one finger up as they spoke to the member of the public on Roman Road, East London, about 10.30am today.
Meanwhile, photographs taken in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester's city centre showed cops speaking to several large groups as the sweeping changes were announced overnight.
The draconian measures which will change every aspect of Brits' lives included:
- All gatherings of more than two people in public were forbidden – meaning a ban on all social events, including weddings and baptisms
- Tens of thousands of non-essential shops were ordered to close
- Communal play and exercise areas inside parks will also be shut down, but not parks themselves
- Places of worship such as churches and mosques must also shut, except to host for funerals
Greater Manchester Police confirmed no one had been arrested following the incident but confirmed officers were patrolling the city centre.
Anyone who flouts the new crackdown will face fines of up to £1,000 or even arrest when cops are given emergency powers.
And police now have the power to issue on the spot fines of £30 for meeting, with legislation expected to be passed later this week.
Streets were seen empty across towns and cities up and down the country today just hours after the PM's announcement.
The PM’s order will last for an initial three weeks, when it will be reviewed to see whether the contagion rate is down.
Travel on roads, trains and buses was also banned, unless it’s essential to get to work.
But despite the new measures, Tubes were seen packed this morning after public transport services were reduced.
In a special broadcast on all main TV channels , the PM branded coronavirus “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.
He said: “Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope.
“Because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.
“But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.”
As part of the measures, all non-essential shops are closing, except food shops, pharmacies, corner shops, hardware stores, petrol stations, pet shops, post offices, banks, newsagents and shops inside hospitals.
Parks will remain open, but gyms including outdoor gyms, play-parks, all places of worship except for funerals will shut.
The Met Police have been contacted for comment.
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