CORONAVIRUS

Members of the Spanish public face fines or even prison if they disobey lockdown rules

Police in Spain will set up checkpoints in the street to ensure state of alarm is observed

A Madrid local police officer tells a member of public that he cannot ride his bicycle under the state of alarm decreed in Spain on Saturday.
A Madrid local police officer tells a member of public that he cannot ride his bicycle under the state of alarm decreed in Spain on Saturday.J.J. Guillén / EFE

Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska issued an order on Sunday that establishes the operational protocols of the security forces in the country while the state of alarm aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus is in place. The resolution puts Grande-Marlaska in charge of not just the National Police and the Civil Guard, but also all local and regional forces, such as the Mossos d’Esquadra in Catalonia. He is also in charge of guards from private security companies.

The checkpoints will be on a larger scale “in those places or during times that will specifically be affected by the restrictions”

One of the main measures that will be put into place is “fixed and mobile” police checkpoints on roads, in public areas and on public transport to “ensure” that the public complies with the complete lockdown that was put in place across the country by the Spanish Cabinet on Saturday night.

The checkpoints will be on a larger scale “in those places or during times that will specifically be affected by the restrictions.” The limitation of freedom of movement in the whole country is the measure that will have the greatest impact from the state of alarm.

Members of the public could be slapped with fines starting at €100 for disobeying the conditions of the state of alert, or could even face a year in prison should they “resist or seriously disobey the authorities or officers when they are carrying out their functions.” That’s according to a document that has been circulated among the security forces and that details the legal measures in force during the state of alarm.

The Interior Ministry added that the police will also “guarantee that citizens can access their places of work and basic services where necessary, as well as permitting the movement of personnel from firms dedicated to providing essential services or the supply and distribution of essential goods and services.”

The Interior Ministry will also establish how the different police forces across the country will provide support to guarantee “the supply of foodstuffs, as well as other goods and services”

Another of the main roles that the security forces will carry out during the state of alarm will be “providing assistance to health institutions and professionals” so that they can deal with patients affected by the epidemic.

The Interior Ministry will also establish how the different police forces across the country will provide support to guarantee “the supply of foodstuffs, as well as other goods and services.” They will also strengthen the security measures at so-called critical infrastructure, such as airports, railway stations, and power stations, in order to “guarantee their normal operation.”

The security forces will also be working to ensure that the measures obliging the closure of businesses is observed, as well as the restrictions in places of worship.

The order from the Interior Ministry specifies that members of the security forces “have the right to efficient protection in terms of health and safety in their work,” in line with the recommendations from the health authorities.

In order to coordinate the actions of the different police forces across the country, the Interior Ministry is going to create a central coordination unit “that will ensure a permanent and continuous transmission of information” between the different forces both to communicate orders from the ministry, as well as to receive news of events and carry out a follow-up.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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