POLICE will be able to use force on children if they flout the coronavirus lockdown.

Guidance from the College of Policing says "reasonable force" can be used if a youngster is believed to be "outside of their premises without reasonable excuse".

Officers also have the power to fine parents £60 for failing to stop a child from going out.

The guidance spells out that officers can remove a youngster from the streets and anyone with them if they refuse to go home.

The briefing drawn up by the National Police Chiefs' Council urges officers to make sensible decisions and use enforcement as a last resort.

It also says checks on every vehicle are "disproportionate" and the public should not be punished for travelling a reasonable distance to exercise.

The guidance states: "Use your judgment and common sense - the police will apply the law in a system that is flexible, discretionary and pragmatic.

"If you believe anyone is outside of their premises without reasonable excuse, including a child, you can use reasonable force in the exercise of the power."

The guidelines advise officers to maintain a distance of at least 6ft from members of the public.

Yesterday the chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Katy Bourne, urged forces not to be "overzealous".

She said: "In order for these measures to be truly effective, the police will need to maintain public confidence."

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund