Know Your Rights During The ‘Lockdown’

The government has claimed lots of new powers, saying they are needed to stop coronavirus. As usual, the police seem more keen on controlling us than protecting our health.

We are not currently able to keep this advice up to date, because we are busy with other work. This may change in the future, if we hear people asking for such advice or we become aware of an increase in police use of these regulations.

In the meantime, you can read the relevant regulations yourself: England | Wales ..or you are welcome to email us with questions, and we will help as and when we can.

The advice below has not been updated! Some of it is no longer accurate!

Did you know:

  • Homeless people are exempt from many lockdown rules.

  • You do not have to answer police questions about why you are out. They can only fine or arrest you if they have a concrete reason for suspecting you have broken the rules.

  • Fixed penalty notices for breaking the rules can only be given to people they ‘reasonably believe’ are 18+.

  • In England there is no law saying you have to keep 2 metres away from other people – only government advice.

For all this and a lot more, see our leaflets:

NB There are important differences between the regulations in each of England, Wales, Scotland and NI. We are only able to cover the situation in England and Wales. Check carefully that you using the correct version and don’t use these in Scotland or NI – they may not be accurate there.

Use and adapt these leaflets freely, but if you make your own version, please remove contacts and details for Bristol Defendant Solidarity and Bristol Copwatch, as we only want our name printed on versions we have agreed to. Thanks!

What our leaflet includes:

  • Info on the lockdown regulations limiting our movements and gatherings of people.

What our leaflet does not include:

  • Info about government guidance or advice – there are plenty of articles and guides out there that muddy the distinction between what the government is telling people to do, and what they have actually put into law. These leaflets focus on the actual letter of the law – though we know that cops (and increasingly, courts too) will break their own rules when they can get away with it.
  • Info about the extra powers the authorities can use against people they suspect of being infectious.
  • Any other new coronavirus related law (face coverings on public transport, social care, the changes to time limits and number of doctors when sectioning someone, closure of venues and premises, etc)
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own versions of the regulations which we have not had time to research – do not rely on this advice there.
  • Any changes to the regulations that have happened since our last update (see dates above) – or changes which have been announced but not actually made into law yet.

How are the new powers being used in practice?

For the latest on this, we recommend the excellent blog Policing The Corona State by NetPol and URG, as well as these similar projects in other countries.