Police guidelines give ‘reasonable excuses’ to go out

Police have been told to stop people “home-working” in parks or sitting on a public bench for long periods of time.

Guidance to officers in England says neither activity is likely to be a “reasonable excuse” for someone to leave their home in the lockdown.

The regulations say householders can go outside if there’s a “reasonable excuse”, such as shopping for essential items, providing medical help and for exercise.

The guidance spells out what is “likely to be reasonable” for each of the key categories.

It says buying food for several days, including “luxury items and alcohol”, is likely to be reasonable.

“There is no need for all of a person’s shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of snacks and luxuries is still permitted,” it says.

It also says people are not allowed to buy paint and brushes “simply to redecorate a kitchen” but can purchase tools and supplies to repair a fence “damaged in recent bad weather”.

Under the guidance, police are advised not to intervene if people stop to rest or eat lunch while on a long walk, but short walks to sit on a park bench are not allowed.

“A very short period of ‘exercise’ to excuse a long period of inactivity may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else,” the guidance says.

The document also clarifies that anyone can travel to work if it is not “reasonably possible” to work from home. However, it says it is not allowed for home-workers to “choose” to work in a park.

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