Central Bedfordshire police have triggered an avalanche of social media scorn after warning residents that their scenic picnics would be ambushed by eagle-eyed law enforcement tasked with supervising Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The police force, which serves a rural area of eastern England, took to Twitter to announce that they would be on the prowl for unruly locals trying to enjoy the nice weather outside.
“If you think that by going for a picnic in a rural location no one will find you, don’t be surprised if an officer appears from the shadows! We are covering the whole county,” they wrote, including a photograph illustrating the discreet nature of their personnel.
If you think that by going for a picnic in a rural location no one will find you, don’t be surprised if an officer appears from the shadows! We are covering the whole county #urbanandrural#StayHomeSaveLifes#ProtectTheNHS 2813 7702 pic.twitter.com/hieQ86dM9R
The unnerving public service announcement didn’t go down well with the public, as Twitter commenters took turns to admonish the force.
“Fascism always lurks in the shadows. We must be vigilant,”replied popular bitcoin enthusiast and entrepreneur Samson Mow.
“The UK is dead,”lamented Joel Lambert, a television host and former Navy SEAL.
Jordan Schachtel, a specialist in national security issues, joked that the tweet seemed to suggest that Nazi Germany had won World War II.
I thought we won WWII. Apparently not?
The force issued a clarification following the barrage of negative comments, insisting that their message was “well intentioned.” They said the patrols were necessary because picnics “aren’t essential” and that the stay-at-home order was in place to save lives.
The United Kingdom instituted strict lockdown measures in late March in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. The advisories issued by the government discourage all non-essential travel and movement, and limit outside exercise to one hour per day. The country currently has 85,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19, resulting in more than 10,600 deaths, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has found itself under increasing pressure as it fights on the frontline against the pandemic. On Sunday, it announced that it would begin treating some Covid-19 patients with an anti-malaria drug. The controversial move has sparked fierce political debate, largely due to the medication’s most high-profile supporter: US President Donald Trump.
Patience for the strict lockdown measures (and their zealous enforcement) has started to wane, as Britons watch case numbers and deaths increase — perhaps a sign that the social distancing strategy isn’t as effective as the government claimed.
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