A GREATER Manchester Police (GMP) officer has spoken out about the “frustration” colleagues are feeling in the way the force is acting on the law during the lockdown.

The officer has slammed GMP’s “soft approach” in getting the public to follow the Government’s rules to stay indoors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under the powers police can issue fines to those flouting the law ­— although it has emerged that forces do not have specific paperwork relating to the recent changes and must issue a court summons rather than a fixed penalty notice.

But GMP says its policy is to "engage with residents to educate and encourage rather than enforce".

Other forces across the country have been criticised for a heavy handed approach.

Neighbouring Lancashire Police issued more than 100 fines in the first weekend alone.

In Bolton, vehicles are not being stopped and “many who refuse to stay in are allowed to go about their daily business unchallenged”, according to the whistleblower.

The officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We are frustrated with the soft approach that GMP is currently undertaking when there are so many lives being put at risk.

“The vast majority are adhering to the isolation but it’s the small majority that do not and its these that pose the risk to other members of the public and to officers who have to stop and advise them.”

GMP Chief Superintendent Stuart Ellison said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting us all with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances and challenges and I would firstly like to thank the public of Greater Manchester for their support thus far.

“The new measures which the Prime Minister put in place last Thursday aim to reduce the risk of the coronavirus and protect our communities.

“We are working to engage with residents to educate and encourage rather than enforce.

“Encouragingly, we are seeing the vast majority of people following the Government guidance.

“However, I would like to make it clear that we do have the formal powers to use, where appropriate, on the minority of individuals who do not adhere to the rules and put people at risk.

“Given the rapid pace of development, guidance has been issued to officers on responding to those breaching the coronavirus regulations.

“Although seeking to secure cooperation first and foremost, officers can report those committing offences for prosecution by way of a court summons, and those prosecutions could lead to a fine being imposed.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) confirmed forces do not have paperwork tailored for the new law.

An NPCC spokesman added: “Given the rapid pace of development forces do not have paperwork specific to the coronavirus regulations."