A top police commissioner in England has called for the power for police to enter private homes without a warrant for suspected of breaches of the country’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
David Jamieson, the Labour Party police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands Police — the second-largest police force in the country behind London — said that officers should have the right to forcibly enter the homes of private citizens.
“For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool,” Jamieson told The Guardian.
“I have raised this issue with the policing minister previously and clarity on the power of entry would help police officers enforce the new Covid regulations more easily,” he added.
While PCC Jamieson has come out in favour of a vast expansion of police powers to enter people’s homes for holding so-called illegal gatherings, the former Labour Party MP has opposed greater stop and search powers for police to combat the scourge of knife crime.
Presently, the police do not have the right to enter into people’s homes without a warrant or the occupant’s permission, except for emergency circumstances, such as situations in which police hear cries for help or to investigate a disturbance.
Police have been calling on the government to increase their ability to carry out invasive searches since the start of the lockdown regime, with the Police Federation of England and Wales first calling for the ability to enter homes without warrants in April.
Responding to the call from the police commissioner, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said: “Before Covid, an Englishman’s home was his castle. Not any longer! Our liberties are being destroyed.”
As England officially enters another national lockdown on Wednesday, police in London have also warned that people in the British capital are more likely to face fines for breaching the lockdown restrictions.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said that officers have been told to “issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, willful and serious breaches”.
The police force said that anyone who attends “parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings” will be subject to fines from the police, rather than just those who organise the events, as was previously the case.
“Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined — not reasoned with,” the statement added.
The MPS continued to warn that with the reduction of “reasonable excuses” for people to leave their homes, Londoners should expect officers to “be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about”.