Derbyshire Police have been at it again. Back in March 2020 they brought out the drones to film people out for a walk in the Peak District and publicly shamed them on social media. This time they swarmed on two women who were out for a walk, read them their rights and fined them.
The incident took place at Foremark Reservoir in South Derbyshire and involved two women named, Eliza Moore and Jessica Allen. The women arrived at the reservoir, a mere 5 miles from where they live via separate cars and were immediately surrounded by police as soon as they started their walk.
Jessica Allen said, “I genuinely thought someone had been murdered; the place is normally so quiet. The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ‘There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us’. Straight away they start questioning us.
“One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking ‘This must be a joke’.
“I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said ‘You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic’.”
Eliza Moore also said she was “stunned at the time” so didn’t dispute the challenge by police.
“Just seeing a police officer anyway is quite scary for some people and we were really not expecting to be approached and to be told we were doing something wrong,” she said.
“We don’t want to get away with it if we have broken the rule, but it seems a bit unfair that you can be fined on something that’s so vague.”
Jessica added that she was “so shook up afterwards, the fact they read my rights, I thought ‘Am I going to prison for going on a walk?’ I’m not a criminal but we were treated as if we were.”
Derbyshire Police said in a statement: “Driving to a location – where exercise could easily have been taken closer to a person’s home – is clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel, reduce the possible spread of the disease and reduce the number of deaths.”
So it’s now a criminal offence to do something that the police don’t believe is “in the spirit of the national effort”?
The answer is no. The law actually states absolutely nothing on this. The guidance however says the following –
You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place, public outdoor places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- the grounds of a heritage site
What’s important to note in the guidance is how they have used the word should. “Should be limited, should not travel.” This means absolutely nothing in law, it’s just what the government would like you to do. If it were law then it would say “Are limited, you cannot travel”. And the women were within the law as they were accessing countryside accessible to the public.
So what exactly do Derbyshire Police think they’re playing at? Oh that’s right, they’ve accused them of having a picnic because they had a drink with them. The men and women who thought for this country against fascism 80 years ago would be turning in their graves at the dictatorial, nanny state this country has become.
Shame on you Derbyshire Police.
This won’t end until we say it does.
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