NORTH Yorkshire Police has been accused of ‘totalitarian behaviour’ over its efforts to prevent people travelling from Tier 3 areas into York and North Yorkshire.

Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties campaigning organisation Big Brother Watch, claimed that people had ‘had enough’ of the force’s enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.

“This is not policing by consent and frankly it has to be stopped,” she told The Press. “There’s no law prohibiting people from travelling between tiers, and in fact not even a specific law underpinning the mass surveillance system that is ANPR. (automatic number plate recognition).”

She claimed citizens were now ‘living in a growing surveillance state and a civil liberties landslide,’ adding: “I’d urge North Yorkshire police to retract threats of border checks and use police officers’ time more wisely.”

Her comments came after Supt Mike Walker warned people in Tier 3 areas not to travel to York and North Yorkshire, which are in Tier 2 restrictions, unless it was necessary, such as for work and education.

He said officers could take enforcement action against those who flouted restrictions and would be actively patrolling and have an increased presence in border areas.

“Our safety camera fleet, which are equipped with ANPR, will also be visible along various routes into the region,” he said, arguing that such policing was needed because people could inadvertently bring the virus in with them and increase the chance of transmission to local residents.

Asked to respond to the totalitarianism allegations, a force spokesman declined to add to Supt Walker’s comments.