Police have been carrying out spot checks on passengers travelling in and out of Leicester Train Station as it starts to become clearer exactly what so-called local lockdowns in the UK will look and feel like.
People using the hub were asked by officers where they were going and why.
Those who could not prove their journey was essential were “encouraged” to return home, British Transport Police said.
“Anyone who does have to travel will also be reminded that face coverings are now mandatory on public transport,” a spokesperson for BTP added.
The Draconian measures come after Leicester became the UK’s first city placed back into coronavirus lockdown following a surge of Covid-19 cases there.
In the last two weeks, the East Midlands city accounted for 10 per cent of all new cases reported in the country. It will remain shut for at least a fortnight as restrictions continue to be eased elsewhere.
Explaining the decision to have officers carrying out station spot checks, a BTP spokesperson said: “People should only be travelling through Leicester if their journey is absolutely essential, so passengers can expect to see an enhanced presence of officers patrolling on trains and at the station.
“They’ll be engaging with passengers, explaining the need to follow the updated government advice in the area, and encouraging them to return home if they are not making an essential journey.
“This is about helping to save lives during a public health crisis.”
The sight of officers patrolling the hub came on Thursday as Leicestershire Police also said “all options” were on the table when asked if roadblocks might be used to stop people from leaving the city in cars this coming weekend.
“We’re thinking about all of our options but we hope that common sense will prevail,” said the force’s chief constable Simon Cole. “Most people have complied here through the previous iterations of the lockdown.”
He added: “If you need to travel for medicine or food, do it. But otherwise, let’s stay at home and watch Leicester City on the telly.”