Police have officially been given powers to enforce the coronavirus lockdown in the UK. 

This means that from now on, those who flout the rules and advice to stay at home could be hit with fines from £30.

Disobedient people can even be arrested and taken to court if they don't pay.

A recap on the rules 

People are now only entitled to leave their property for essential reasons. This includes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • One form of outdoor exercise a day
  • Medical need 
  • To care for a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to work only when absolutely necessary

Gatherings of more than two people are banned - excluding those who live together. 

Public gatherings and social events - including weddings but excluding funerals - have also been banned.

What can police do?

Police officers will have powers to split up gatherings and order people to go home or leave an area.

They can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.

Officers can then hand out a fine or arrest those who refuse to comply. 

But the Home Office said the police "will always apply their common sense and discretion".

How much are the fines?

The punishment will be a fixed penalty notice initially set at £30. If the offender does not pay within 14 days, the fine rises to £60. 

And for a second offence, the fine is £120, the Home Office warned.

But the Prime Minister spokesperson said the government will keep this under review and can increase it significantly if it is necessary.

Those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing huge costs.

What have police said about enforcing the lockdown?

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said that once the new legislation is in place: "My view is that my officers will just carry on talking to people and advising people. The vast majority of people want to comply with the law, the vast majority of people want to keep their society safe."

Police chiefs warned of phone lines being inundated with calls after Mr Johnson's statement, with questions about what movements are still permitted.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said officers would not be deployed on patrol specifically to police social distancing rules but will "remain patrolling their communities as always".

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in London, told Sky News the new measures will be a "real challenge" and "very difficult".

He added: "We will be dealing with it, but I'm not sure we will have the resources to be able to see it through."

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, had previously told the PA news agency he "cannot imagine" how officers would police social distancing, adding: "I just cannot rationally think how that would work."