IT has been more than two weeks since the lockdown measures were imposed in the UK in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The new rules including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and only leaving the house for exercise once per day, to shop for essential items, to travel to work ‘where absolutely necessary’ or for medical treatment.

Police have been given powers to arrest anyone who breaches these emergency laws or fine them up to £120, with officers allowed to use ‘reasonable force if necessary’.

But what should you do if you see a public gathering or believe people are flouting the lockdown rules?

How to report breaches of the Covid-19 measures

Where possible, Cheshire Police wants residents to report alleged breaches of coronavirus legislation on online.

This is so that the non-emergency 101 number can be kept free for people who do not have access to the internet.

The same applies for reporting other crimes that are not emergencies.

There is a dedicated section of the force’s website which has been set up for reporting breaches of Covid-19 measures.

You can find this by clicking here.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “During this major incident, we are continuing to provide all the essential services you expect from us while supporting the NHS and other organisations to keep everyone safe.

“The coronavirus situation has brought about an unprecedented public health emergency, and our top priorities are to maintain the best service to the public, protect officers and staff and support the national response.

“We’re pleased to see the public support for our people and the gestures of generosity to those working around the clock to keep people safe across Cheshire.

“We are in this together, and every one of us has a role to play by following government advice.

Warrington Guardian:

“If you're concerned about a business or venue that's open and you don't think it should be, please check the guidance on this first.

“We're seeking to resolve situations where people appear to be or are contravening the government advice on physical social distancing and the stay at home measures without resorting to enforcement and issuing fines.

“Please only tell us about something if you feel there is a significant issue or breach which you think we need to know about.”

When to ring 999

You should only ring 999 if it is an emergency, if there is a threat to life, if the situation could become violent, if there is a risk of serious damage to property or if there could be major disruption to the public.

Have there been any fines yet?

There have not yet been any publicised reports of the police fining anyone for breaches of the coronavirus rules in Cheshire.

However, six people were summonsed to court in Warrington two weeks ago.

These were for a variety of alleged offences, including a motorist driving ‘because he was bored’, people shopping for ‘non-essential items’ and others who had been to parties.

Warrington Guardian:

Cheshire Police says it is reviewing these summonses in order to ensure that its response was proportionate.

But the force needs the help of the general public in ensuring their safety over the coming weeks and months.

Sergeant Rob Anderson said: “I do need to be realistic with you, we simply cannot enforce our way out of this one.

“We do have the powers to enforce as a last resort, however what dealing with this crisis requires is everyone in society to play their part.

“Our approach is one of common sense – are we out to penalise and harass people who are sticking to social distancing but have maybe bent the rules slightly? No.

“Anyone who has ever worked near the police will recognise the phrase ‘words of advice’, and that these will resolve the vast majority of situations.

“Are we going to enforce people having drunken and drug fuelled parties in the park, driving with three in a car at 2am looking for cigarettes or out committing crime?

“Yes, and I make no apologies for that.”

Are there any types of crime that the police are particularly worried about?

There is concern that the effects of families being on lockdown may result in a spike in domestic, while the empty streets could lead to motorists speeding.

Sargeant Anderson said: “It’s bad enough being stuck in all day with people you like, to be in there with someone who terrifies you and abuses you every day must be a living hell.

“Our stations still have staff in, and if the desk is closed there are the buzzers and phones that you can use outside them.

“We are absolutely still responding to reports of domestic abuse and other vulnerabilities so please let us know.

Warrington Guardian: Police have new powers to intervene in cases of domestic violence.

“I have seen some criticism that we are still using speed calming measures and that these are targeting key workers, but they aren’t.

“The issue we have is that, with quieter roads, some individuals are treating Cheshire as a racetrack.

“Last year in Cheshire, we had 36 people die and many more were seriously injured – excess speed was more often than not a key factor.

Warrington Guardian:

“The last thing our stretched NHS needs at the moment is to be treating people who’ve crashed because they have been driving too fast.

“Just this week, our motorcycle team stopped someone doing 80mph in a 40mph zone.

“This is not about making money to fund our Christmas party – as with everything we are doing at the moment, it’s about saving lives.”

Advice for the bank holiday weekend

Sergeant Anderson added: “I appreciate this upcoming weekend normally presents the opportunity for four days of fun, mainly in the pub.

Warrington Guardian: A pint of beer

“However, everything we have been through with the lockdown is to slow the spread of the virus and to keep people safe.

“There will be plenty of other bank holiday weekends, and it needs a real team effort to keep going.

“Try virtual drinks via Zoom or Skype calls – be as creative as you can but please keep to social distancing.”