POLICE have vowed to take firm action against people who show "clear disregard" for lockdown rules in Bradford over the coming weeks.

Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Tim Kingsman said officers will continue to encourage people to stick to the lockdown rules of staying at home as much as possible, but where people are blatantly flouting the rules they will take action.

It comes as the Met Police in London said it will stop people in the street ask why they are not at home during this third lockdown, and Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was right for officers to police this lockdown "robustly".

The lockdown regulations, voted into law last night, say people must stay at home except for certain reasons such as essential food shopping, to go to work if they cannot work from home, for medical reasons, to escape abuse, or for exercise, or for the purposes of education.

Asst Chief Constable Tim Kingsman said the majority of people in West Yorkshire are abiding by lockdown rules, but police will enforce the rules where needed to keep the public safe.

He said: “As you know, the country has now entered a further period of lockdown, to control the further spread of Coronavirus, save lives and help protect our National Health Service from becoming overwhelmed.

“While this is not where we wanted to be, entering 2021, it is essential and I urge everyone to do their bit by complying with the lockdown rules and staying at home as directed by the Government.

“We all miss our friends and family, but the more we follow the rules now, the better the chances of restrictions being eased sooner rather than later.

“I am pleased to say that the vast majority of people in West Yorkshire have been incredibly compliant and supportive since the start of this pandemic, sticking to the rules and guidance in place at the time.

“While I am sure this will continue, the police do have additional powers of enforcement, which are there to keep the wider public safe.

“We will continue our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance, but where there are blatant breaches, which clearly show a disregard for the health and safety of the wider public, we must take action and we will use our powers.

“I am confident that we have the support of the wider public in doing so, but of course it is your hands. For your own wellbeing you must stick rigidly to the rules. If you must go out, in line with the rules, remember - hands, face, space.

“I am extremely proud of the tireless work by my officers and staff and the wider key worker community at this really difficult time, as well as the real community spirit that neighbourhood officers witness on a daily basis.

“None of us underestimate the scale of the challenge at this crucial time. Please continue to support the effort to keep your community safe, protect the NHS and save lives.

“With a sustained effort now and the ongoing roll out of the vaccine, we should be able to look forward to better days and being reunited with our loved ones.”

Earlier today, Home Secretary Priti Patel backed police to strictly enforce England’s lockdown.

She said: “It’s right that police act robustly.”

When asked whether officers would question people sitting on park benches during the lockdown she said: “Police have done that, let’s be very clear about this.

“Throughout this coronavirus pandemic, during the last lockdown, the police have been asking individuals why are they out and about and should they be out and about, when the message right now is stay at home.”

The state of the “shocking virus” meant it was right to have “stringent measures” in place, she added.