NORTHUMBRIA Police's warning of potential fines for those who go outside without a legitamite reason has been backed by the Home Secretary. 

Priti Patel said the increasing number of new Covid-19 cases proved there was a need for "strong enforcement" in cases where people were clearly breaking the rules.

On Saturday, Northumbria Police warned they would enforcing Covid-19 legislation, but  police tactics have come in for scrutiny after Derbyshire Police handed out £200 fines to two women who drove separately to go for a walk at a remote beauty spot situated around five miles from their homes.

Nevertheless, the Home Office said there would be a more "rapid movement to enforcement" around the issuing of £200 fines for those not following the rules.

Ms Patel said: "Our police officers are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Not only are they continuing to take criminals off our streets, but they are also playing a crucial role in controlling the spread of the virus.

"The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules.

"But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus.

"Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that. Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary."

National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) guidance, published on January 6 to reflect the latest national lockdown, states officers should still offer people "encouragement" to comply with the regulations and explain any changes.

"However if the individual or group does not respond appropriately, then enforcement can follow without repeated attempts to encourage people to comply with the law," the NPCC said.

Under current lockdown restrictions, residents are only allowed to leave their homes for basic necessities, either for themselves or for a vulnerable person they are caring for. 

This includes going to work, and carrying out voluntary or charity work, while people are allowed outside for exercise once per day, for medical assistance and childcare. 

For full details on the lockdown, visit