People who have been told to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace could have their contact details shared with police in a bid to help enforce compliance.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHCS) said police forces will have access “on a case-by-case” basis to information, enabling them to know if an individual has been told to self-isolate.
It comes as the DHSC updated its online guidance on Friday about how coronavirus testing data will be handled.
People who fail to self-isolate “without reasonable justification” could have their name, address and contact details passed on to their local authority and then to the police, the DHSC’s website said.
“This may lead to enforcement action being taken against you, which could include you being fined,” the online guidance said.
“A police force may request information relating to positive Covid-19 tests from the NHS Test & Trace programme directly, where they are investigating a report of someone who may not be complying with the mandatory self-isolation period.”
Any police data requests would only concern those who have actually been tested and it does not affect those who are using the NHS Test and Trace app which is anonymous and does not track individuals.
This, still, has nothing to do with the app, and, still, you should install the app if you haven’t already https://t.co/mcROdXxK59— alex hern (@alexhern) October 18, 2020
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that the office of England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, feared the move would put people off from being tested.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Michael Gove defended the policy, saying that officers are operating in a “very proportionate way” and that action would only be taken over “persistent, flagrant and deliberate” breaching of the rules.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said ministers should “reverse the policy urgently”.
He said: “Ministers’ decision to allow...