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Police to adopt ‘consistent tone’ against lockdown rule flouters

Police in Ipswich town centre on the first day of lockdown earlier this year  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police in Ipswich town centre on the first day of lockdown earlier this year Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Police will continue to clamp down on any deliberate disregard for lockdown rules when tougher restrictions return on Thursday.

Assistant chief constable Rob Jones. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYAssistant chief constable Rob Jones. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Suffolk’s assistant chief constable said the force would ensure a ‘consistent tone’ to policing Covid regulations as England enters a month-long lockdown later this week.

Rob Jones suggested officers would strongly enforce any wilful flouting of the rules, which will expire on Wednesday, December 2.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people would again be encouraged to stay at home for four weeks and leave only for specific reasons, including childcare, education, exercise and work which cannot be done from home.

Recent data showed Suffolk police handed out 289 fixed penalty notices for regulation breaches between April 4 and September 19

Until now, the force has adopted the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) approach of engagement, explanation, encouragement, and enforcement as a last resort.

Ministers are expected to debate proposed measures on Wednesday – with the NPCC due to engage with the government and provide guidance on policing the rules to forces around the country.

Mr Jones said: “With new regulations being debated this week, there may well be new rules for us to work out and get to grips with.

“While we return to familiar messages, we want to be as clear as we can about information because there are some significant differences being proposed things like no alcohol sales by takeaway and no weddings.

“We’re preparing for what those new regulations show. We’re expecting some policies to change, like social bubbles and the rule of six, and these will be really important for people to discuss with family and friends.”

Mr Jones said the police also wanted to be clear about advice around organised gatherings on Remembrance Sunday, which the Prime Minister said could go ahead if held outside.

“We’ll have national guidance from the NPCC and we’ll make sure we have a consistent tone to policing,” he added.

“We have to be clear about the circumstances in which we will enforce. Larger gatherings and deliberate flouting will be enforced strongly, but where there’s confusion, we will continue to engage, explain and encourage.”


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