Two sunbathers were this afternoon pictured relaxing outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London where Boris Johnson is battling the coronavirus.
It comes after Met Police chief Cressida Dick warned that officers will force people to move if they are caught sunbathing in parks during the current lockdown as more photos emerged showing Britons flouting social distancing rules.
Officers were today seen patrolling Greenwich Park in south London where hundreds flocked to enjoy the sun on the weekend, prompting Number 10 to yesterday confirm that sunbathing was banned as a ‘non-essential activity’.
The photo of the two people outside the hospital in London was taken at around 3pm this afternoon by a former nurse, around 100 yards away from the entrance.
Speaking today, the former nurse said: ‘It is a shocking scene right by St Thomas’ hospital where the Prime Minister fights for his life. These two male sun bathers are making a mockery of the stay at home rules imposed to save people from catching coronavirus’.
Photos also emerged of a group of ten youths drinking lager by the River Stour in Dorset, while in Sheffield residents of a housing estate were criticised for continuing to gather in large groups on the street.
It came as a record high of 854 coronavirus deaths were announced in the UK today, taking the total to 6,227, with 51,608 confirmed cases.
The above picture was taken by a former nurse outside the hospital in London where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting for his life
An officer speaks to a member of the public today in Greenwich Park, south London, where this weekend police were seen urging sunbathers to move on
A person sunbathes today on Hampstead Heath in north London, as police upped their efforts to keep people indoors to stem coronavirus
Police officers in Richmond, London, were forced to approach a family this afternoon after they set up on a field to play sports
Police in a patrol car next to people who are sunbathing and sitting in Queen’s Park in North West London today
A man and a woman have a cider in the sun today in Pittville Park in Chelteham, where police have been urging people to go home
A man lies on the grass in Cheltenham while listening to music despite warnings that public sunbathing is not allowed during the lockdown
Dame Cressida said: ‘The new restrictions are obviously difficult for some members of the public to get used to. It’s extremely important that we all do try to comply with them and we in the police of course have our part to play.
‘We will always try to advise people to explain, to encourage people to comply and if necessary to move on, not to stop and sunbathe – that’s not exercising or travelling to work or shopping.
‘If we have to we will be very firm in that, if somebody completely refuses – but this is an absolute last resort – it will result in enforcement.
‘I think the vast majority of the public expect us to do that but the tradition of the Met is always to start by advising people.’
She declined to comment on whether tighter restrictions were needed, but said: ‘The Met will stand by and be ready to assist whichever direction they go in whenever that is.
Groups of people were spotted out and about today enjoying the sunshine on Primrose Hill in London, despite being asked to stay at home
Police officers were seen walking around Primrose Hill, ready to disperse groups who were gathering
This weekend saw officers using megaphones to urge people to move on from parks unless they were exercising, and police are preparing for more enforcement action as temperatures look set to soar to 75F leading up to the Bank Holiday weekend.
In Christchurch, Dorset, local resident Shona Blunden, 48, spotted a group of youngsters drinking beer by the River Stour before one of them jumped into the water fully-clothed.
Mrs Blunden said: ‘The lockdown is going to go on for a hell of a lot longer if behaviour like this carries on.
‘If people can’t start behaving, we won’t be able to go anywhere. People are dying and these kids think it’s one big joke.’
Mrs Blunden said she called the police, who she said informed her that they would escort each person from the gathering home if they found them.
Police officers by the sea in Brighton and Hove telling a sunbather to go inside today. Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘The new restrictions are obviously difficult for some members of the public to get used to’
A man sunbathing on Hampstead Heath in north London today as a woman walks past with a dog. Officers are continuing patrols to urge people doing ‘non-essential’ activities to go inside
Police patrol in a squad car around Hampstead Heath. Yesterday, Number 10 clarified that sunbathing was banned as a non-essential activity
A woman sunbathes in the Meadows in Edinburgh, where there were sparse crowds today as most people followed the rules of the lockdown
A cyclist lies on the grass next to his bike in Cheltenham today as police urged sunbathers to go back home amid the coronavirus lockdown
A couple exercising today in a park opposite St Thomas’ Hospital in London, which is not against the rules if only done once a day
Today, photos emerged of a group of ten youths drinking lager by the River Stour in Dorset. The image was taken yesterday
Residents of the Page Hall housing estate in Fir Vale, Sheffield, were criticised for continuing to gather in large groups in the street. This pictured was taken on the weekend
In Sheffield, a former local councillor criticised residents of the Page Hall housing estate in Fir Vale who were continuing to gather in large groups on the street amid the lockdown.
Ibrar Hussain said the message to stay indoors ‘isn’t getting across’ and urged the police to take a ‘firmer’ approach to tackle the problem after receiving multiple reports from worried residents.
‘Although the soft approach is good at times you have to be firmer because it’s unfair for people who live there,’ he said. ‘They are frustrated and angry because these crowds could spread the virus.
‘Their lives have changed and their quality of life has been diminished in this crisis and if the rules are not observed then God help us.’
A masked woman and her dog sit on a park bench in Clapham Common in South West London with a puzzle book and a flask
A trainer records an exercise video on Clapham Common in South West London today as the UK lockdown continues
Police have come under additional pressure in previous weeks from thugs spitting and coughing at them while claiming to have ‘corona’, leading to some calls for spit hoods to be issued to all officers.
Speaking today, Dame Cressida called such incidents ‘completely unacceptable’ and said they would continue to be ‘dealt with firmly’.
‘Some people have been convicted and received very strong sentences for spitting or coughing at a police officer,’ she said.
Yesterday, 19-year-old Thomas Wilson was jailed for six months at Warwick Crown Court for threatening to cough and spit in a female officer’s face while he was being detained.
Police officers walk across Westminster Bridge towards St Thomas’ Hospital in London today
A woman walks across Westminster Bridge today as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Met Police chief Cressida Dick today warned officers will force people to move if they are caught sunbathing in parks during the current lockdown
It comes as a father was fined £480 because after his son was caught flouting coronavirus lockdown rules four times.
West Midlands Police said the fixed penalty notice could be doubled and reach as much as £960 if the teenager continues to go outside without good reason.
The neighbourhood policing team in the Blakenall area of Walsall said the youngster had been out three times, prompting a warning to the boy’s father.
But the boy – who had been abusive to police – then went out a fourth time, prompting the fine.
There have been concerns police forces will be stretched by an increase in absences related to coronavirus.
Today, Dame Cressida did not reveal how many officers were off sick or self-isolating, but said the Met was providing a good service for Londoners.
She added: ‘Some of our demands have gone down and of course we have some other new demands, but we are a strong and resilient organisation.’