Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble has issued a statement detailing the rules when it comes to travelling during the lockdown.
In his statement, he acknowledges that most people are following the guidance when it comes to travelling. However, he also adds police officers will not hesitate to question people they feel are not ‘staying local’.
In a statement released the Assistant Chief Constable said;
“I would firstly like to acknowledge that the majority of people within our Force area have responded positively to the ever-changing regulations and guidance and have taken responsibility for their wellbeing and the health of others.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have been proactive with policing the Covid restrictions, patrolling our streets and beauty spots and actively engaging with those out and about. Our community have responded very positively to this.
“As a result of that high visibility engagement, we have on most occasions been able to establish that people are following the regulations, however in a minority of cases, some people have been found to be breaching these regulations, which were created to keep everyone safe.
“UK Government guidance strongly requests that people do not leave their local area. However, the Covid regulations, which we enforce, and which enable us to issue fixed penalty notices for breaches, don’t restrict the distance travelled for exercise.
“We will remain unapologetically inquisitive about why people are out of their homes and will explain the regulations and encourage people to comply. Where people are breaching the regulations and are away from home without a reasonable excuse, they may be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
“In situations where people are breaching the guidance not to travel out of their local area but are not breaching regulations, we will strongly encourage people to follow the guidance.
“As has been our approach from the start, we have engaged, explained and encouraged people to follow regulations and guidance. Our officers individually assess every situation and apply the most appropriate response, which on some occasions may see us dispersing a gathering, or in other cases will require issuing a fixed penalty notice.
“The restrictions are clear in that you should stay at home unless you have a reasonable excuse not to. This may be to buy food, to travel to work, for childcare arrangements or for exercise.
“Going to the beach, parks or countryside, irrespective of where you travel from is not permitted unless you have a reasonable excuse.
“Currently other outdoor recreation – like sitting on a park bench or a beach – is unlikely to be a reasonable excuse and the police can take enforcement action in such circumstances.
“We are asking the public to take personal responsibility for your own actions and in particular – stay home; protect the NHS; save lives. As we hopefully approach the final stages of this pandemic, it is ever more important to take the advice of our public health professionals.
“I want to provide reassurance to all our communities that we will continue to take our role in this health emergency extremely seriously. I also want to thank our officers and staff, who every day, continue to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities.”