Police thank majority for staying in, while 469 issued warnings in week

Acting Sergeant Ben Towns and Sergeant Dave Hammatt on patrol in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH L

Acting Sergeant Ben Towns and Sergeant Dave Hammatt on patrol in Christchurch Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Police have reiterated guidance on social distancing as figures revealed officers issued 460 warnings about breaching lockdown rules in a week.

The government gave police extra powers under new public health regulations to reduce the spread of coronavirus three weeks ago.

Officers can also issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, or £30 if paid within 14 days, and a fine of £120 for second time offenders – doubling on each further offence.

Between April 9 and April 16, Suffolk polices issued 469 warnings about social distancing.

The most warnings were handed out on Wednesday (79), followed by Bank Holiday Monday (73) and this Thursday (68).

Between last Thursday and Easter Sunday, police received 641 communications from people reporting others for flouting rules.

The constabulary said it was well aware of the challenges brought by restrictions and the sacrifices people were making.

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Chief Constable Steve Jupp said officers would maintain a “proportionate and common sense approach”, adding that it was now more important than ever to support the NHS and emergency services by abiding by the government’s instructions.

He thanked the majority for staying at home and remaining in their local area, adding that the constabulary’s approach to restrictions had remained consistent since their inception.

“We will engage, educate and encourage people to comply. We have always said we would only use enforcement if we were left with no other option,” he said.

“Sadly we have had to do so on a relatively small number of occasions. These have been when officers have had no choice, but to issue fixed penalty notices in line with the new legislation.

“Our priority is to protect the people of Suffolk. That includes those who may put themselves and others, including my officers, at risk by not taking notice of the government’s instructions.

“Once again, I thank the overwhelming majority of the public for their support and I’m proud of the way my officers are conducting themselves in such an unprecedented circumstances.

“Please continue to stay home and stay safe. I appreciate how difficult this is, but we must also do everything we can to protect the NHS. We are still here for you. We are still out in our communities, fighting crime, protecting victims and tackling anti-social behaviour.”