POLICE will be able to use force on children to remove them from the streets if they are caught flouting new rules during the coronavirus lockdown.
Guidance from the College of Policing says 'reasonable force' can be used if a child is suspected to be 'outside of their premises without reasonable excuse'.
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Officers can also fine parents £60 for failing to stop a child going out without a good reason – such as one piece of daily exercise or shopping for essential food.
The guidance states officers can physically remove a youth from the streets if they refuse to go home.
However, the new advice states this should only be used as a last resort.
It reads: "Use your judgment and common sense – the police will apply the law in a system that is flexible, discretionary and pragmatic.
"If you believe anyone is outside of their premises without reasonable excuse, including a child, you can use reasonable force in the exercise of the power."
It comes after one of Britain's top police officers warned colleagues that 'overzealous' enforcement during the national lockdown could see a backlash from the public.
Met Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu cops must keep “the trust and confidence of the public” while “policing by consent”.
The head of counter-terror policing added “not every police response will be sure-footed”, but added: “Everyone in policing is acutely aware that how we police this pandemic will be remembered for many years to come.”
Last weekend shocking pictures showed dozens of people clustering in parks and beaches despite the plea for social distancing.
And as police have stepped up their efforts to stop people ignoring the new severe rules, some were fined for buying "non essential" items from shops, or stopped for cycling in a park.
Derbyshire Police defended sharing footage of people rambling in the Curbar Edge area of the Peak District, saying travelling to remote areas for exercise did not count as "essential travel".
Lockdown measures announced by Boris Johnson mean people should only leave their homes if they are travelling to work as a key worker, getting vital food supplies, a daily dose of exercise or ensuring the welfare of relatives.
But civil liberties group Big Brother Watch branded the force's move as "sinister" and "counter-productive".
Avon and Somerset Police and colleagues in North Yorkshire have run high-profile operations asking drivers why they are out on the roads.
Officers were seen pulling over vehicles in Bristol city centre last week as the streets are cleared of all but essential workers.
And some enthusiastic cops raided a Liverpool comedy club after mistaking an old show they were streaming to be a live event.
South Wales Police and Devon and Cornwall Police were among other forces patrolling green areas and beauty hotspots to encourage people to return home.
And some corner shops have said they were told not to sell Easter eggs of hot cross buns as they don't count as "essential".
Cops have been handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1,000 for breaking rules by being outside their homes.
The Home Office said people who continue to flout tougher restrictions on movement will be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.
KEEP THE PUBLIC SAFE
Those who ignore the rules could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, with the penalty doubling for additional breaches.
Officers in England were given the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel as of 1pm on Thursday.
They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area, and have the power to disperse a group, using "reasonable force, if necessary".
Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the powers were designed to "protect the public and keep people safe".
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Meanwhile, the coronavirus crisis has seen supermarkets accused of banning parents from bringing in their children as they impose social distancing rules.
Some supermarkets have introduced screens around checkouts to protect workers, plus they’re limiting key items so everyone can have access to goods.
Tesco has limited the overall number of items in online orders to 80.
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