First known Coronavirus Act fine confirms our fears: the entire population can be treated as “potentially infectious”.
Police need to be trusted with these extreme powers – but they’ve fallen at the first hurdle.
Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch said:
“The Coronavirus Act gives police huge powers to police to arbitrarily fine, detain and punish potentially anyone in this country.
“The new law defines ‘potentially infectious persons’ so loosely as to be meaningless and capture the entire British public.
“It seems here that someone who declined to give police their personal details has been classed as ‘potentially infectious’ and criminalised as a result.
“It’s so important that people follow the government guidance to protect themselves and others. Extraordinary powers are needed in these circumstances to protect public health.
“However, these emergency powers are the most draconian ever seen in peacetime Britain.
“These breathtaking powers can even be used to detain and isolate our children. If the police are to maintain credibility and public trust in their handling of these extreme emergency powers, they will need to use them proportionately and in accordance with the law. They appear to have fallen at the first hurdle.”