‘This is not the end of the road’ - Chief constable issues warning ahead of lockdown easing
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The easing of lockdown restrictions is not a green light to go back to normality, Norfolk’s chief constable has warned.
Norfolk police boss Simon Bailey has said greater freedoms introduced from today, including unlimited exercise and driving to parks or beaches, do not mean the pandemic is over.
He said: “My main concern is if communities now think the virus no longer poses a threat, they may not adhere to social distancing and take risks not taken before and then increase the risk of infection growing. But it is important to carry on with social distancing and personal hygiene to stop the spread of the virus.
“As we move forward I want communities to continue to reflect on that because this is not the end of the road and there is still a very long way to go.”
Mr Bailey anticipates good weather over the weekend will mean people will go parks and beaches, but urged them to be sensible.
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He added: “I still encourage people to stay at home as much as possible but recognise people will go out. When they do, they should enjoy the day out but adhere to social distancing at all times, stay within the household unit and keep safe as well as keeping other members of the community safe.”
As for policing the new measures, Mr Bailey said the message to officers was the same and added: “From the outset, officers have been advised to use discretion when dealing with people flouting the rules and this has not changed. The message is very clear and the emphasis has been around engaging, education and encouraging people to understand why the lockdown has been put in place and why it is important restrictions are respected and to draw attention to community spirit and responsibility.
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“The feedback so far to Norfolk police’s response has been staggering and I have consistently thanked and applauded our officers for their efforts and am very proud with the way they have dealt with the crisis.”
Mr Bailey also praised the county for sticking to public health restrictions since the start of lockdown.
He added: “Tuesday was day 50 of lockdown and throughout this time communities have been brilliant in their approach and I believe by adhering to restrictions we have done our best to stop the spread of the virus.”