Coronavirus: Peak District drone police criticised for ‘lockdown shaming’

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Derbyshire Police

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Derbyshire Police said vehicles should not have been in a car park in Curbar Edge

A force that released drone footage of people walking in the Peak District has been accused of “nanny policing”.

Derbyshire Police filmed people in pairs rambling in the Curbar Edge area of the beauty spot on Wednesday.

Officers said travelling to remote areas for exercise did not count as “essential travel” as permitted under government lockdown rules.

But Twitter users said those shown in the film did not appear to be breaking social distancing guidelines.

The 90-second clip, shot by the force’s drone unit, showed people walking their dogs and taking photos.

It said “the message is still not getting through” about stopping the spread of coronavirus, despite government guidance and several police posts.

One Twitter user called it “the worst kind of nanny policing” while others pointed out that the walkers were away from crowds.

In a series of tweets, the force said some cars parked in the area were registered in Sheffield, suggesting people had travelled to Derbyshire and ignored government advice to exercise close to home.

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Others, however, agreed and argued if walkers were to injure themselves, vital resources would be taken away from hospitals to rescue and treat them.

Derbyshire Police said it was “not appropriate to be getting in your car and travelling to take this exercise, particularly to a location, such as the Peak District that in normal times can become busy”.

“Our actions and the government’s advice are there to keep you and others safe and ensure our NHS is able to cope in order to save as many lives as possible.”

On Thursday the force also broke up a large group near the Snake Pass enjoying a picnic and shisha.

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Derbyshire Police

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Derbyshire Police found a group near Snake Pass enjoying a picnic and shisha

Officers said those who attended had come from Manchester, Sheffield and Ipswich and added: “Seriously this is not social distancing and staying home.”

At the weekend the Peak District National Park urged people to stay home after it said crowds flocked to the Peaks.

The Home Office has now announced new powers for police to arrest anyone flouting the coronavirus lockdown rules.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said anyone ignoring restrictions could be fined £60 and another £120 for a second offence.

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