‘We can’t waste our time’: lockdown breakers to face tougher police response in Norfolk
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
One of Norfolk’s most senior police chiefs has signalled a tougher stance against coronavirus lockdown breakers this time around - saying officers cannot “waste time” with them.
During the first lockdown, the consistent approach and message was to “engage, explain and encourage” those who were breaking the rules.
But, in a statement on Wednesday, temporary assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth made it clear that this time there would be less room for patience with persistent offenders.
She said: “Judging by some of the reaction to Saturday’s announcement, it’s clear some people want to carry on as normal by continuing to meet with family and friends and will be prepared to breach regulations.
“I completely understand the effect of lockdown fatigue, after all this health crisis has affected each and every one of us and this year has been challenging. We’ve experienced many changes with curbs to our freedoms which we know for many of you has been very difficult and for some of you uncomfortable.
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“We’ve always acknowledged this and this has been reflected in our policing approach, with officers looking to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules, using enforcement only as a last resort.”
She went on: “This time around, we enter a second lockdown seven months into the pandemic. People know what the risks are and what is expected of them in relation to rules.
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“Officers will look to engage and establish people’s circumstances in a fair, sensible and proportionate manner. However, we cannot waste time with endless encouragement for people who are knowingly and blatantly breaking the rules.
“These people leave us with no other option and can expect to receive a fixed penalty notice. We believe the public would expect that from us because experience tells us our communities feel strongly about the rules being breached. We must protect each other and try to prevent the spread of the virus.”
She added: “We know people have made and will continue to make real sacrifices to help stop the spread of infection; its the only way to keep our communities safe.
“I thank you for the your efforts so far and fir the further sacrifices you are about to make.”