Saturday, March 27, 2021

The arm of the law

On 27 January, Priti Patel said going on holiday was “not a valid reason” to leave home during England’s coronavirus lockdown and added: “Anyone who does not have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home or they will face a fine.”

The Home Office claimed that police could arrest people who remained intent on going on holiday after being stopped at an airport, saying: “Holiday travel is not allowed and police can fine anyone trying to do so, direct them to go home and, if necessary, use powers of arrest.” As I reported the other day, this has now been reinforced with a threat of a heavy fine.

However, hundreds of thousands of people have flown in and out of the country since the announcement in January, including half a million passengers at Heathrow Airport in February alone. And no holidaymakers have been arrested for violating the “ban” on non-essential foreign travel.

It is one thing for the Home Office to continue making these rules but it is another expecting the police to have the manpower to enforce them. You have to ask yourself, "would you rather the police concentrate on catching criminals or stopping people leaving the country to go on holiday?"

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