NORTH Yorkshire Police will use all the powers it has to enforce the lockdown and stop people putting lives at risk.

That is according to a statement issued this morning (Tuesday) from police and fire chiefs in North Yorkshire.

It comes after the Prime Minister placed the nation on lockdown to tackle the coronavirus, threatening police fines for anyone who ignores the new measures.

Last night, Boris Johnson detailed a short list of reasons why individuals can leave their homes as he ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials items.

He ordered people to only leave the house to shop for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible” and to perform one form of exercise a day.

Or they could seek medical help, provide care to a vulnerable person or travel to work if “absolutely necessary”, he said in a televised address from within Downing Street.

In a joint statement responding to the new measures, Lisa Winward, chief constable of North Yorkshire Police, Andrew Brodie, chief fire officer of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and, Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner, said: "It is our job to keep North Yorkshire safe and we can only do that if you follow the instruction to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

"We know the vast majority of you have already been taking action to stop the spread of Coronavirus, and we thank you for those efforts. But some have not - and the crowds we saw in some parts of North Yorkshire this weekend illustrated that all too clearly.

"Now there is no ambiguity, there can be no question - if you do not need to be outside for an essential reason, to buy food or medicine or to exercise once a day, you must stay at home.

"Anyone who thinks this does not apply to them is putting lives at risk. North Yorkshire Police will use all powers we have to stop that, to keep us all safe and to ultimately save lives.

“Our emergency services will be here to protect you throughout this national emergency. We know these are unsettling times. They are unprecedented times. But across North Yorkshire we stand together, and together we’ll get through it."

North Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Mike Walker has also issued a statement this morning. He said: "The new and significant restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on Monday evening spell out very clearly what each and every one of us must do to save lives. The message is clear and the warning stark. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

"These are the lives of the people we know and love. Our partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents. You may never be in such a position again where your simple actions will lead directly to saving lives."

He said, alongside the new restrictions, the Government announced new powers to enforce them.

"I know the vast majority of people will follow the restrictions without question, as they have done so already and we will work with local communities to help reinforce the message should it be necessary," he added.

"We sincerely hope that we will not have to resort to enforcement measures, but if we have to, we will. In the meantime, we are working with national police colleagues and the Government to obtain the details of the new legislation as it becomes available. "Please continue to look after each other, try and make the most of the time spent with your loved ones, and remember we are here for you if you need us.”

Meanwhile, a police federation has warned that policing enforcement measures introduced by Boris Johnson in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will be a "real challenge."

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in London, pleaded with the public to adhere to the measures as he warned that harsher ones could be introduced.

Mr Marsh said enforcement will be difficult amid "large amounts of sickness" among officers in the capital.

"So it will be very, very challenging and very, very difficult for us with what's put in front of us," he told Sky News.

"But we don't actually know what is being put in front of us yet and we're going to be asked to disperse crowds, it's going to be a real, real challenge.

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

He said the Army could step in and support police if numbers fall due to illness or self-isolation.

Police will have powers to disperse gatherings after Mr Johnson announced a ban on meetings of more than two people aside from those who live together.

Asked if major crime is no longer a priority, Mr Marsh said that although officers will police the same way "up to a certain degree", the coronavirus crisis had "taken over everything".

"This is the biggest thing that's ever happened in my lifetime and anyone's lifetime, really, and we need to get on top of it," he told Sky News.

"It's not to say we won't be policing, so people can't behave in any way they want, because we will still be policing in exactly the same way, but you will see measures changing as this changes."

Asked if he would like the measures go further, Mr Marsh said it could "absolutely become more draconian towards the public" if advice is ignored.

"Hopefully from this day, well, if they don't listen then there will be tougher measures," he said.

"I don't doubt for one minute, because the only thing you are going to see is hundreds and hundreds of people dying.

"And we don't want that, the police don't want that, I'm sure the public don't want that. It could be their loved ones. So we've got to work together."

Sir Peter Fahy, the former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said "there is a huge amount of clarification needed" about the new measures, including clear outlines on a range of issues such as the definition of a vulnerable person and what counts as exercise.

Stating that the public will have to accept that "this is absolutely vital if lives are to be saved", he told BBC Breakfast: "There is no way really that the police can enforce this using powers, it has got to be because the public hugely support it, that there is peer pressure and there is continuing clarification from Government about the message and going through all the individual scenarios and questions that people will have about what happens in this situation."

He added: "If you compare us to Italy, we have about half the number of police officers that they have. We don't have a paramilitary police force like the Carabinieri. Our police officers are already very stretched.

"It will require a huge amount of public support, public acceptance and public compliance because if officers are going to be dispersing groups, they are going to be asking about things like 'is there a power of arrest?' and that will then tie up more and more officers."

Humberside Police said: "We've had many calls on our 101 line from people seeking answers, but at this stage we are not able to answer all of your enquiries."