UPDATE: Covid-19: A message from Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew
Continue to Play Your Part in Keeping Our Communities Safe
We must all continue to play our part in tackling the spread of Coronavirus.
Just under 300 fines have now been handed out by Devon & Cornwall Police topeople who were breaking coronavirus restrictions issued by the government.
In the 10 days between Good Friday, April 10, and 20 April, 296 fines were issued as a last resort across the region by our officers; the vast majority of these were issued to those undertaking non-essential journeys.
Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said: “By now, everyone should know what their responsibility is in the battle against coronavirus; keep staying at home, try to stay local when exercising and only undertake essential travel. This will help us protect the NHS and ultimately, to save lives.
“There is no room for complacency and we must all keep adhering to the government advice. The majority of people are continuing to play their part in reducing the spread of Covid-19 and to them that I say thank you, your role in this should not be underestimated.
“There has been much discussion around the legislation and what it does and doesn’t specifically prohibit.
“It’s important to remember that a key factor is if a person’s actions are reasonable or not, and this is why our officers will continue to have conversations with those they stop and will make individual judgements based on specific circumstances presented to them.”
ACC Mayhew added: “A very small percentage of those people our officers speak to during police stops result in enforcement.
“The feedback from the vast majority of our communities is that we are currently striking the right balance between engagement and enforcement, and we will continue to strive to deliver a proportionate approach to the legislation.
ACC Mayhew said: “Please keep to doing your bit by staying at home and avoiding unnecessary travel; you are protecting the NHS and saving lives.”
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Following yesterday’s announcement from the government, ACC Glen Mayhew has released the following message.
“This announcement means that the legislation and government advice on social distancing and restricted movement remains the same, and it is expressly to prevent the spread of coronavirus, to protect the NHS and to save lives.
“It includes the following: Only go outside for essential food, for exercise, for health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home). If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times. Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
“We will be continuing our high-visibility patrols with our approach remaining the same; we continue to engage, explain and encourage people to adhere to the guidelines. As previously stated, enforcement will be our last resort but we will not hesitate to use this where appropriate. Devon and Cornwall Police alongside other emergency will respond to incidents and calls for service as necessary. We are confident that we have the resource and resilience to continue to deliver core services to those that need us.
“We understand the hardships that our communities are going through at this time but this is a collaborative effort and I want to take this opportunity to thank the vast majority of you who are adhering to the government guidelines and avoiding unnecessary travel.
“Unfortunately, a small minority of people continue to ignore the restrictions and we are appealing to them to do the right thing. We know how difficult these measures are for everyone – but this is about protecting our families, friends and communities.
“I continue to be very proud of my officers, staff, volunteers, local partners and all the key workers who have all shown incredible resilience throughout these unprecedented times and continue to do so.
“We are all in this together, each and every one of us has a vital role to play in reducing the rate of the spread of the virus.
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Bank holiday policing
Over the Bank Holiday period, Devon and Cornwall police undertook a proactive policing approach across the region in support of the nation’s collective effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. We continued to operate a policing style that is one of engagement, explaining and encouragement with enforcement as a last resort.
As part of this operation, our local teams undertook increased high-visibility patrols which included carrying out over 4,000 visits to beauty spots and businesses across the region.
Officers spoke with over 5,500 people during these targeted patrols across four days and 960 people were given verbal warnings for failing to follow the guidance.
We can confirm that a minimum of 169 people were issued with fines over the Easter weekend, approximately a quarter of these were to people living outside of Devon and Cornwall.
Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said: “We shared the concern of our communities that a small number of people continued to breach the restrictions and were putting lives at risk. Our approach was to speak with people and I am really pleased that these figures show a proportionate response.
“With around 3 percent of these checks resulting in enforcement we believe that this shows that our officers used enforcement proportionately and as a last resort.
“We all wanted to enjoy the weather this weekend, but thankfully our beauty spots continue to remain noticeably quieter which shows that the vast majority of the public are taking government guidance seriously, and are playing their part in helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19, protect the NHS safe and save lives.
“We have seen a slight increase in traffic on the roads, but our road-side checks are establishing that the majority of these who are on our roads are undertaking essential travel.
“I understand the appeal for people to go out, but we need to keep to the restrictions. The signs are that they are having an impact so we all need to do our part to reduce the strain on our NHS as this will ultimately save lives. Policing with the support of our communities is our priority and we will continue to use discretion and only use enforcement as appropriate.
“I also want to thank the hard work of partners and volunteers who over the Bank Holiday weekend supported our activities. This included patrols on the beaches and moors to explain to people the importance of the restrictions. I would also like to recognise the vast number of other key workers who have also worked incredibly hard, ensuring our core services have continued to deliver.
“Naturally, the Coronavirus is at the forefront of our mind, but I want to reassure our communities that we continue to undertake everyday policing; we are still answering over 650 999 calls a day, still responding to incidents and still tackling crime and protecting the vulnerable across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. My message to the public is that we are here for you.
“Finally I would like to thank the public for your continued support and understanding during this challenging time. The messages we have received across social media and comments from the public during our interactions show how difficult we all finding it but how well we are all adapting.
Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “Police, staff and volunteers in our force have very sensibly taken the approach that they will educate and inform the public of their obligations, but we always knew there would be a cohort for whom enforcement was the only option.
“We also knew that despite the warnings, and a #ComeBackLater campaign supported by us and our many partners, our part of the country would prove irresistible to many who put their own wants before the needs of some of society’s most vulnerable members and we’d see some attempting to travel to the South West over the Easter weekend.
“The vast majority of the public are making extraordinary sacrifices at the moment in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and I think they want those who put others at risk dealt with using these new powers. Our Chief Constable, frontline officers and staff have my full support, and I believe, the support of the vast majority of our elected leaders, parliamentarians and the public.”
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