Police warn they will 'collectively target' those who flout Covid restrictions

With the new national restrictions being introduced in England on Thursday, police are warning those who break the rules will face warn of 'greater levels of enforcement' for COVID rule breakers.

The following open letter has been issued on behalf of the five North West Chief Constables on policing current Covid 19 restrictions:

As the Police Chiefs responsible for the North West we have seen first-hand the misery the pandemic has caused, but we have also seen great support from the majority of our communities. We have tried to ensure we have maintained the principle of policing with consent, that sets apart policing in this country from other parts of the world. Along with police forces nationally, we have taken a very measured approach to enforcement from the start of the pandemic, recognising the restrictions placed on all our lives were unprecedented. We used the 4E's model of Engage, Explain, Encourage and only as a last resort Enforce, in relation to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching the Coronavirus legislation.

Sadly we have seen a minority right across the North West who seem incapable of demonstrating any civic responsibility and complying with the regulations. We know from focus groups and regional insight work the majority of the public would wish to see the Police Service taking a consistent and robust approach to enforcement. Since local restrictions have been necessary across large parts of the North West we have taken a firmer stance on enforcing the restrictions, moving more quickly to issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for those deliberately flouting the law and putting lives at risk.

As we head into further significant restrictions from 00.01 on Thursday 5 November 2020 we wanted to give these collective messages:

• To the majority of our communities who have tried so hard to comply with restrictions, please carry on. We know how hard this is, but we need to maintain that shared purpose we had in the first lockdown to defeat the virus and, ultimately, save lives.

• To the minority who feel the restrictions don't apply to them be prepared to face the consequences of greater levels of enforcement. We will collectively target those who flout the restrictions, particularly those organising large gatherings and music events, repeatedly holding parties or deliberately causing harm to our communities by not following the restrictions, such as self-isolating where necessary.

• Where we have issued Fixed Penalty notices a significant proportion of recipients think they can ignore them. We are therefore seeking support from Government and the Judiciary to consider how we bring these people to justice rapidly.

Let us all do everything we can to get through this most awful of times and prevent any further suffering across the North West.

Yours sincerely

Darren Martland, Chief Constable Cheshire Constabulary

Michelle Skeer, Chief Constable Cumbria Constabulary

Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable Greater Manchester Police

Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable Lancashire Constabulary

Andy Cooke, Chief Constable Merseyside Police

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Duncan Herald
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 3:00 pm
What happens if the police arrest a 90 year old ex-serviceman for breaking the law on remembrance Sunday?
Alan Brough
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 6:22 pm
Duncan,

My guess is that they would incite the Mother of all riots.
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 8:10 pm
Police need to remember they Police by CONSENT and the current PCC is squatting in his well paid chair this year as Covid postponed elections. Please vote him out folks when these elections are finally sorted...
Andy Brown
Sunday 8th November 2020 at 5:53 pm
Four police cars raced into Alderley Edge at 22:01 on Wednesday 4th November to make sure we had exited the various hostelries the village has to offer before the iron curtain descended on the world's oldest democracy for the second time.

I'm thankful that we don't live in a police state and that the constabulary have solved all the other crimes that used to blight our lives.
Jim Buckley
Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 4:27 pm
Fine words but meaningless. What happened to those hundreds congregating on the Edge at the weekend.

Police were in attendance, no one was social distancing, no action was taken.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 4:53 pm
Duncan,

As an update, I am pleased to report that a small number of people gathered - socially distanced - around the Alderley Edge Cenotaph just before 11am on Sunday. A lone Police Officer was in attendance and quietly and politely moved about us to point out that, regrettably there was no "official" act of remembrance taking place.

As the hour turned there was respectful silence (save for a couple of "tuner" cars) after which we carried on with the rest of our day.

I'm pretty certain we wont make this weeks edition of ITV's "Police, Camera, Action!"
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 4:58 pm
Sadly the police do not have the numbers to restrain large crowds, and in trying to do so put themselves / colleagues and their families at risk of serious illness / death., In principle only the organisers who deserve £10,000 fines. are sought. But when will the silent majority realise that the "Ignorant, Stupid, Couldn't care less idiots" are the people who take the virus home, infect their parents and friends, who in turn infect their elderly residents who quite possibly will die !!!
It beggars belief that some people still don't understand what we are facing this winter. Much as I love going our for lunch or dinner in a safe environment I would not allow any bars to open where young peoiple deliberately flout the rules as if they are immune. It is so sad, but these are the people who are perpetuating the pandemic and really don't give a monkeys for the rest of us.
Even out for a "safe" walk, it is wonderful that the older people ensure safe social distancing, and say "Thank you" when you give way. I regret that generally the younger generation don't either understand or want to understand social distancing and along with the majority of cyclists just don't care.
Perhaps those of you who have lost loved ones to this apalling virus will start to make your thoughts public. It may be your turn next !!!!

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