SUSSEX Police have stood by instructions telling people not to drive to take a walk.

The force stated on its Facebook page that people were allowed to explore footpaths, bridleways, promenades as long as they could walk there.

However a National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) document categorically states it is “lawful to drive for exercise” and that driving to the countryside for a walk is “reasonable” if “far more time” is spent walking than driving.

Sussex Police qualified its instruction nine hours after its initial post, stating: “While it is lawful for people to drive for exercise, officers are required to use their discretion and judgement in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.”

The Wednesday post, which has now been shared more than 1,000 times, said: “No doubt many of you will be wanting to enjoy it and get outside, especially as the rest of the week looks a little cloudy. So just to clarify:

“You CAN go out every day for exercise. But please do it from where you live.

“You CAN explore footpaths, bridleways, promenades. As long as you can walk there.

“You CAN go looking for rainbow pictures, hundreds of them on display in windows.

“You CAN use your garden. It’s yours to enjoy.

“But please always be mindful of social distancing and don’t drive somewhere for your walk.

“We appreciate all the effort people are putting into containing the spread of coronavirus which will help protect our NHS and save lives.”

The Argus:

The NPCC published a document this week to outline the lockdown regulations and provide further insight about the rules.

The document outlined the legal basis for police and explained whether someone has a “reasonable excuse”.

The document categorically states it is “lawful to drive for exercise”.

However, driving for a prolonged period for only brief exercise would “not likely” be a reasonable excuse.

The guide reads: “Exercise can come in many forms, including walks.

“Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise.

“However, a very short period of ‘exercise’ to excuse a long period of inactivity may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else.

“It is lawful to drive for exercise.”

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “We are adhering to the regulations and guidance outlined by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Argus:

“While there is nothing in the legislation that prevents people from driving to exercise, police forces and the Government have rightly continued to advise the public not to travel long distances in the car to exercise.

“Sussex Police, along with many other forces who have coastal areas and rural walking spots, have advised not to travel to minimise groups of people coming together. This is not out of step with the CPS guidance.

“We stand by the principle of doing everything we can to support our colleagues in the NHS, and are committed to protecting the public and saving lives. We are asking the public to help us do this by staying at home where possible and only leaving their home for essential travel.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit