Suffolk Constabulary is re-iterating its warning that police officers will continue to be, what they say is ‘more inquisitive’ - as the latest lockdown measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus continue.
The force will continue to engage, encourage and explain first, but where people are blatantly flouting the rules officers will issue fines and that approach will continue over the coming weeks.
Over the weekend of Saturday 9th and /Sunday 10th January, Suffolk issued 39 fixed penalty notices, compared to 6 issued in the same period last weekend.
The message is simple - stay as local as possible to where you live. Where people are breaching the regulations and they are away from home without a reasonable excuse, they may be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Assistant Chief Constable, Rob Jones said: "Let’s be clear that criminal justice sanctions will not be the answer to beating the pandemic – it lies with public health imperatives, so that means ensuring us all behaving as if we have the virus ourselves.
"You may not know you have it, but you may be asymptomatic so you could be spreading it without knowing it to others, including the vulnerable. We are currently at a critical point in terms of reported daily cases and deaths so it is incumbent on us all to do the right and responsible thing and adhere to the rules. It really is that simple.”
The force has seen an increase in calls into the Contact and Control Room asking for advice on guidance as to what to do in certain situations or to report a potential breach. While it is encouraging to see the public taking responsibility and wanting to check and find out what they can or can’t do, the public is reminded that the police is an emergency service and phone lines need to be kept free for reporting crime and intelligence purposes.
Rob Jones added: "If you see a breach you can report it on the online reporting tool. This allows our CCR call handlers to be able to take calls from people reporting criminality, suspicious behaviour or where a crime is in action. While we urge the public to look at the gov.uk site for the latest and definitive guidance on the rules.
"Responding to emergencies is our daily business and we need to make sure we can continue to deliver our core services and respond to urgent calls and protecting people from harm. That will always be our priority, so we thank you for your understanding and co-operation.”
The reporting took is here: https://www.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/v7/tell-us-about-a-possible-...
The full guidelines can be found on the https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus