ACC Kerrin Wilson visited the town centres, market places and supermarkets of Boston and Grantham before heading to Skegness and Mablethorpe to see how communities have responded to the government’s social distancing instructions.
While officers shared their concerns over what they are facing they were very focussed on the task in hand - to help save lives.
Following new dispersal powers given to Lincolnshire Police, the force is able to take enforcement against anyone ignoring this, but is actively engaging with residents to help avoid doing so.
ACC Wilson, who is leading on the force’s response to Covid-19, says: “I have personally seen that the vast majority of residents are following the instructions. Thank you for this and for supporting our truly amazing public health service.
“However I did come across a small number that were not. If people continue to go about their lives and ignore the national pandemic, they are putting not only themselves at risk, but also those around them.
“This includes a whole host of professionals from carers and paramedics to NHS staff and police officers who may be part of the response to someone falling ill.
“We are approaching this by speaking with our communities and making sure that people are helping to keep themselves and others safe.
“We don’t want to have to issue any fines or make arrests – we will only do this when there is no other option.
“We won’t be setting up road blocks and stopping people in their vehicles unless there is a clear policing reason for us to do so – we are trusting our communities to follow the national advice and only make essential journeys.”
New dispersal powers have been given to police officers to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
These powers will only be used if someone fails to comply after officers have engaged with them – officers will explain the risks to public health and encourage people to comply.
• The legislation states that officers will be able to disperse groups of more than two people from any public place. Groups of more than two people – who live in the same household – are permitted
• Anyone who refuses to disperse will be given a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
• Second time offenders will be issued with a £120 fixed penalty notice. This will then double on each further repeat offence
• Anyone who does not pay a fixed penalty notice under the new regulations could be taken to court. Magistrates will then be able to impose unlimited fines
• Anyone who refuses to comply will be acting unlawfully. This may result in being arrested, where it is deemed proportionate and necessary. However, the first instance, police will always apply their common sense and discretion.
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