LANCASHIRE'S top cop has released a statement following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that the UK is now on coronavirus lockdown.

Senior officers in the county are currently in discussions with public sector leaders on how to best proceed with enforcing the lockdown, which curtails public gatherings and restricts people's ability to leave their homes.

In his first public statement since last night's lockdown announcement, Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “We want to reassure people we are working with government and across agencies to urgently consider how best to support and enforce the new rules so we help keep people safe. We are developing our operational plans now and will keep people continually up to date.

“Please be assured we will continue to respond to emergencies and incidents which involve the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Everyone must follow the government advice to stay at home and only leave the house for the specified reasons which are set out by the Government here

“Please help us to help you by only contacting us if you need a police response. Think before calling 101 - remember you can report non-emergency crimes/incidents quickly and easily online here

“We understand the huge sacrifices people are already making – but this is a national health emergency. Adhering to the advice will save lives, protect the NHS and keep people in Lancashire safe."

Chf Cons Rhodes is set to make a further announcement later today.

As part of the Prime Minister's people will only be allowed to leave their home for very limited purposes.

Shops will be shut, as well as places like playgrounds and some other outdoor spaces.

People are now only entitled to leave their property for:

Shopping for basic necessities

One form of exercise a day

Medical need

To care for a vulnerable person

Travelling to work only when absolutely necessary.

Mr Johnson said police will act to stop any gatherings larger than two (not including members of the same household) by handing out fines and dispersing gatherings.

Shops that don't sell food or other essential items will close.

This will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.