POLICE across the region have now been given the power to enforce rules on staying at home and the power to issue fines of up to £120.

On Thursday, officers in England were given the power to enforce the lockdown in the government's fight to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Under the new powers, those caught breaking lockdown rules could be fined £60 initially, and £120 for a second offence - they could also be arrested, the Home Office warned.

The new rules also mean officers can order members of the public to return to their primary residence, leave a public area or disperse a group.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel said the powers were designed to "protect the public and keep people safe."

The Home Office said: "If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.

"However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion."

According to guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.

Refusing to provide a name and address to avoid being given a fine is an arrestable offence.

The rules will be in place for an emergency period which must be reviewed at least once every 21 days, starting on April 16.

The news came as North Yorkshire Police said officers would be on foot patrol and stopping motorists at "checkpoints" from Thursday.

Drivers will be asked where they are going, why they are going there, and reminded of the rules on staying at home, according to the force.