Brockwell Park benches taped off as concerns are raised over police powers during lockdown

Katherine Johnston (09 April, 2020)

Necessary step or draconian move?

35948View of Brockwell Park

Lambeth Council has taped off benches in Brockwell Park, saying the measure will stop the highly infectious Coronavirus from spreading.

It has also taken further action to seal off areas that have seen groups congregating in recent days – including BMX tracks.

Southwark Council has not made a similar move.

The issue is one raised by Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman in a letter sent on behalf of parliament’s Human Rights Committee.

This week she wrote to Met commissioner Cressida Dick asking to see clear guidelines issued to officers on how to enforce social distancing in public places.

“We have seen police tape preventing the use of park benches and police surveillance to identify people who are breaching the guidance not to drive to beauty spots,” she said.

“I think it would be helpful if you could be clear about the instructions which have been issued to your officers about their role in parks and public spaces during the crisis.”

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