Government criticised for confusing messages over exercising outdoors

Confusing messages from the Government on exercising outdoors has made enforcing lockdown rules difficult, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

David Jamieson
David Jamieson

It comes after two women were fined for driving five miles to go on a walk in the Midlands, which was later overturned, while Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said people could cycle up to 70 miles.

Under the latest lockdown rules, the Government says people should not travel outside their local area to exercise.

David Jamieson, the region's police and crime commissioner, said West Midlands Police was using "good discretion" when policing the rules.

He said: "It would have been helpful when ministers first announced the policy of staying in your area, if they would have given some guidance as to what they meant by that.

"Clearly, Matt Hancock [the health secretary] had one view, it was within the very close vicinity to where you lived.

"Unfortunately, his Prime Minister reinterpreted that information and went on a seven mile bike ride and the policing minister said a 70 mile bike ride was appropriate.

"I mean, the serious point here is, if Government ministers are not saying all the same thing, and are not consistent in their messages, it does make it very difficult for the police to carry out their job. What we are doing in the West Midlands, and we always do, is [to] use good sense and discretion over these things.

"And I think people themselves will do that. In your own area means in close proximity to where you live which may actually vary, depending on whether you live in a rural or urban area.

"But it is good sense, and using that sense, to determine whether or not what you are doing is going to spread the Covid virus.

"That is the real key to this, is spreading the virus. Do not do anything that is likely to spread the virus.

"I do say, consistent messages from the Government would be extremely helpful.

"We want, not just to concentrate on some of the smaller infringements, we are very much looking for the bad guys, the people who are fragrantly ignoring the law, because those are the people that are putting us all at risk."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News