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For any copyright, please send me a message. Priti Patel has slapped down a police chief who threatened shoppers with trolley searches during the coronavirus lockdown. In her first public comments since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the Home Secretary said the comments were “not appropriate”. It comes after Northamptonshire police chief Nick Adderley said his force were only “a few days away” from introducing measures such as road blocks and searching shopping trolleys, as people continue to flout coronavirus regulations. He said a “three-week grace period” is over in the county and the force will now be issuing fines and arresting people breaking the rules. He said further measures will also be implemented should people continue to flout the regulations, including “marshalling” supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys. Mr Adderley said: “We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks. We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it’s a legitimate, necessary item. “But again, be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I’m making today, we will start to do that.” Mr Adderley later said he “may have been clumsy in that language”. He went on: “The confusion in the clip this morning, what I was trying to refer to, was we may get to a stage where the purpose of somebody’s journey may be questioned by an officer – not searching trolleys and baskets. “If that confusion has existed, please let me clarify, we are not in that business – I’ve said that from day one.” Northamptonshire Police also clarified: “We absolutely will NOT be searching people’s shopping trolleys in Northamptonshire.” Asked about the chief constable of Northamptonshire saying there’s a chance of stepping up roadblocks and even marshalling supermarkets and checking the items in baskets, Ms Patel told TalkRadio: “That’s not appropriate, let me be clear about that. “I work with the police and leadership every single day of the week and have been since this crisis. “That is not the guidance, that is not down to the measures we’ve been adopting thus far.” Ms Patel warned people to “all take responsibility” adding “it’s not about over-reach”. Referring to “scurrilous” stories of police checking for Easter eggs – which were unconnected to police – she said “that is not what police are there to do”. She paid credit to police who she said “exercise their judgement” and said people having a mass gathering could expect to be dispersed. However she added: “This is not about heavy handed law enforcement, I really must emphasis that. “There’s a balance of this.”
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