Fines for people flouting coronavirus lockdown rules could soar as high as £960, ministers have revealed.
Under the Coronavirus Act, police can now arrest those who break social distancing rules and can issue people with a £60 fixed penalty notice, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Second-time offenders could be issued a fixed penalty notice of £120, doubling on each further repeat offence up to a maximum of £960.
Those who do not pay the fine could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines, according to newly published guidance.
The Scottish Government has indicated that it will follow the measures implemented at a UK level.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said earlier this week that his officers would not hesitate to use the new powers once they were passed on.
“When the powers are enacted, we will have no hesitation in using those powers if people continue to defy what is very, very clear advice”, he said.
Under the new guidelines, police can order members of the public to go home, leave an area and have the power to disperse a group.
Officers can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.
Announcing the new enforcement powers, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The prime minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.
“All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.
“That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.”
A Home Office spokesman added: “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.”
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