Understanding the law

The Coronavirus Act 2020, Health Protection Regulations and Government guidance will all enable the police to play their part in the national effort to save lives and protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.

COVID-19 continues to be a developing situation, and we will regularly update you as new information becomes available. This page was most recently updated on 13 May, to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. We have also removed any out-of-date documents after amendments were made to the Health Protection Regulations.

To help policing provide a measured and consistent approach during this unprecedented situation, we have produced a range of resources to explain the new powers and to help forces across the country in their response to COVID-19.

The police's approach to all COVID-19 powers is for officers to engage, explain, encourage the public and only enforce as a last resort.

Health Protection Regulations

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020 and apply to England only.  They have been subject to several amendments since they came into force. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have equivalent legislation, which has also been amended since coming into force. The purpose of these powers is to save lives by protecting the public and the NHS.

Our full briefing pack below covers The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations (reconciling powers in relation to business closures with powers to disperse gatherings and restrictions on movement). This pack is consistent with the changes in regulations from the 13 May 2020. A summary briefing highlighting the 13 May changes alone is also available below.  

As we all move into this next phase, policing will continue with the 4 E's approach to engage, explain, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce. We are also updating this information to reflect the most recent amendments. 

Resources

Briefings and resources for policing in England:

 
Briefings and resources for policing in Wales (these must be read together to reflect up-to-date information on the Health Protection Regulations):
 

Resources for all:

Coronavirus Act 2020

We have developed new guidance for police in England to explain the additional powers which police now have to support healthcare professionals following the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The guidance includes details on the need for officers to work at the direction or advice of healthcare professionals in using these powers.

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