Coronavirus: Woman faces court for ignoring police orders to go home

Police officers on patrol in Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Police officers on patrol in Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A woman who three times ignored a police request to go home is the first person in Norfolk to face court under new coronavirus dispersal powers.

It follows an incident in Great Yarmouth on Monday (March 30) morning when the woman repeatedly ignored officers’ requests to return home.

The woman, who is aged in her 40s, was reported for the offence and will receive a summons to attend magistrates’ court in due course.

The action follows a warning from chief constable Simon Bailey who urged members of the public to follow the prime minister’s advice to stay at home to help relieve pressure on the NHS and stop people from dying following the coronavirus outbreak.

Following Monday’s incident, which was the first time the Norfolk force had used its powers following the Covid-19 outbreak, Mr Bailey said: “We police by consent in this country, and my officers follow a very fair four-step escalation model with the public and businesses.

Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk police. Picture: Archant

Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk police. Picture: Archant - Credit: Steve Adams

“Our focus is to reassure, inform and engage with people so they understand why these restrictions are in place. Our communities are looking out for each other and listening to the government’s message to stay at home, and I thank them for that. Complying with these regulations is an absolute priority to save people’s lives and protect our NHS.”


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He added: “We will always try to disperse people rather than use enforcement but it’s also right that we act against the few who choose to break the rules and disregard these measures, and put people’s lives at risk.”

Officers were given the powers on Thursday (26 March 2020) to fine people who refuse to stay at home and go outside without reasonable excuse, following the introduction of government measures to tackle Covid-19.

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Mr Bailey said: “The majority of people are already making sacrifices to save lives, and we continue to urge everyone to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe.”

A dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technici

A dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technicians who are carrying out diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

People are being encouraged to report non-urgent crimes or concerns via online reporting at www.norfolk.police.uk/.

Only dial 999 in an emergency. Non-urgent crimes can be reported via 101 or via the force’s website.

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