Oxford

Coronavirus: PCC urges neighbours not to 'snitch'

Anthony Stansfeld
Image caption Conservative Anthony Stansfeld said he did not want the situation to become like "George Orwell's 1984"

A police commissioner has urged neighbours not to “snitch” on each other if they break new rules imposed after the coronavirus outbreak.

Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley, said people could politely express disapproval instead.

He said he did not think “snitching to the police” was necessary “except in the most extreme circumstances”.

The government introduced a series of strict measures on Monday.

Coronavirus: England under lockdown

Police forces across the country said they received lots of calls following their announcement asking what was allowed.

Under the new measures, police forces and local authorities have powers to disperse public gatherings of more than two people and impose fines.

Mr Stansfeld said the coming weeks would be “very difficult” for the force, which was “down in numbers” due to officers needing to self-isolate.

'Reasonable and friendly'

"I think people have just got to be reasonable and friendly to their neighbours and support them," he said.

"I don't think snitching to the police except in the most extreme circumstances when it's obviously necessary to do so, where real crime is being committed, then fair enough, but I would hope we don't get into that sort of society."

Mr Stansfeld, who had been due to step down until the upcoming elections were cancelled, added he hoped people “will act responsibly".

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said if people did not follow the rules, the police would "have the tools to ensure they are penalised and punished if they put others' lives at risk".

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