Police will fine Brits the first time they’re caught without a mask from now on

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Police have revealed they will fine Brits the first time they are caught without a face mask in the new national lockdown.

And anyone leaving home without a reasonable excuse will face the same zero-tolerance approach as officers pledge a crackdown on anyone flouting the strict rules.

Scotland Yard yesterday confirmed that it has instructed officers to enforce lockdown laws more "quickly" and they will accept fewer "reasonable excuses" in an effort to save lives.

The Metropolitan Police force warned people who leave their homes will be forced to explain themselves and people who breach lockdown will no longer be "reasoned with".

Do you agree with the police's stance? Let us know in the comments section

Police officers chat with members of the public on patrol around the Barton Hill area during a day of action to reinforce coronavirus lockdown regulations at targeted locations around Bristol
(Image: PA)

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The number of £200 fines in London is set to soar after the Met announced officers will be more "inquisitive" – carrying out stops to find out why people are out and about.

The force, the largest in England, announced that people committing "obvious, wilful and serious breaches" will no longer be given the benefit of the doubt.

And the Met said officers had been told to issues fines more quickly to anyone found flouting restrictions and not wearing a face mask.

A spokesman said: "Additionally, with fewer 'reasonable excuses' for people to be away from their home in the regulations, Londoners can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about.

Police patrol Barry Island, Wales
(Image: PA)

"Where officers identify people without a lawful reason to be away from home they can expect officers to move more quickly to enforcement."

Met Police said it has instructed officers to issue £200 fines "more quickly" – having previously focused on "explaining, and encouraging".

Rulebreakers can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Random stops will be carried out to find if people have legitimate reasons for leaving their homes.

Barry Island is relatively empty as the country is in level four of its coronavirus restrictions
(Image: PA)

Anyone holding, or involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people can be fined £10,000 by police.

Reasons people are allowed to leave their home

  • Work
  • Volunteering
  • Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
  • Education and childcare
  • Meeting others and care – You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, to attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care
  • Exercise – You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble
  • Medical reasons
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home, hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • Communal worship and life events

An anti-lockdown protester in Parliament Square outside the House of Commons yesterday
(Image: Getty Images)

This morning, police were spotted patrolling Hyde Park in London, with a police van driving through the centre of the park to ensure people observed social distancing and did no meet in groups.

On Bournemouth beach in Dorset, police were seen patrolling and checking on locals.

Brits must wear a mask in all indoor public spaces including shops, supermarkets, public transport and taxis under current rules.

There are exemptions for children under the age of 11 and those with a medical exemption.

Mounted Police officers attempt to disperse crowds gathered near Westminster Bridge
(Image: Getty Images)

But under the third national lockdown's tough crackdown, police will be looking for people to provide a decent excuse to avoid an on-the-spot fine.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told MailOnline police will now require written evidence of a medical exemption if Brits are to avoid a fine.

He said: "If you have a medical reason for not wearing a mask, you now have to print off a clarification that proves you have an exemption.

"This is a problem we've had all along, that before anyone could say they had a medical reason for not wearing a mask and we'd have to just accept it and walk off. That isn't the case now."

Police officers speak to two revellers near to the London Eye
(Image: Getty Images)

He did clarify that people will not need to carry the exemption with them at all times but will  "be given a certain amount of time" to "produce notice of exemption from a doctor".

Home Secretary Priti Patel told Good Morning Britain today that police will be taking a tougher stance.

Ms Patel said: "The police have always taken firm and strong action when it comes to enforcement of coronavirus regulations.

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"Over the Christmas period alone there were something like 800 fines issued for coronavirus breaches.

"The police will absolutely continue to be strong on enforcement, we are in a lockdown, we are back to where we were in spring last year.

"We are in such a situation right now that the need to be out and about will be very restricted, so you will see the police out and about and if you are out and about.

"And it's inevitable you may see officers out and about and they may ask you for justification of why you are out and about, and if you are seen to be breaching the rules they will take enforcement action against you.

"And they may issue you with a fixed penalty notice."

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