Devon and Cornwall’s top cop has asked people to act within the spirit of the law regarding the latest Covid-19 regulations, rather than play fast and loose with the rules.
His call comes after Devon and Cornwall Police revealed that during the first week of the latest lockdown, between January 4 and January 10, the force had received 921 Covid-19 related calls – with almost half of these coming from Cornwall.
The force revealed that there was a total of 433 incidents of officers offering encouragement, engagement, and education to the public to comply with regulations during the same period – and 49 Covid-19 fixed penalty notices were issued.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “Throughout the pandemic our communities have been largely compliant and that has continued throughout the first week of the new national restrictions.
“We want all of our communities to act within the spirit of the national guidance, and to not only follow the rules set out in law.
“Many officers have been asked in the last week what constitutes local exercise and how far can people reasonably travel – what I would ask is people do the right thing to protect themselves and others from further spread of Covid-19.
“The Government is asking people to stay at home and only leave or travel for a limited number of reasons, including exercise.
“Local means to stay within your village, town or part of your city. While it may not be stipulated in law, be responsible and play your part in keeping your community safe.
“Our encouragement, education and engagement with the public has in the vast majority of cases resulted in compliance with the regulations and a change of behaviour – that is how we hope everyone would respond.
“We have dedicated Covid cars in operation throughout the force area to respond to public concerns and, where necessary, issue enforcement to maintain public safety.
“No officer wants to have to issue a fixed penalty notice. My plea to the public is don’t be that person who refuses to comply and puts yourself and others at unnecessary risk.”
Dedicated Covid cars were involved in 66 per cent of the responses to Covid-related calls received by Devon and Cornwall Police in the same period.