Posted: 30.05.20 at 09:51 by Francesca Evans
Devon & Cornwall Police have issued 989 fixed penalty notices to those breaking lockdown rules over the past two months.
The figures are for the period of April 1 to May 28 and almost a quarter of the penalties were issued to people from outside the force area.
Out of the 50 fines that were issued over the Bank Holiday weekend, 38% related to overnight stays including second homes and campervans. The remainder were in the main for groups and gatherings.
Over that same weekend, officers carried out high visibility patrols at more than 900 locations across Devon and Cornwall.
ACC Glen Mayhew said: “Over the past two months officers have spoken to hundreds of thousands of people in relation to COVID-19 regulations and a very small percentage of those interactions have resulted in fines being issued.
"Officers have used discretion in each and every situation to engage, educate and encourage before using enforcement as a last resort where necessary.
“A crucial part of this process for us has been to work closely with our communities in order to shape the approach we took and to enable us to understand the concerns and issues within our own towns and villages.
"Many of you told us that you were concerned about second homes and overnight stays so that was an area we focussed on, particularly since the changes to lockdown earlier this month.
“I would like to thank the majority of the people who continue to play their part in this national endeavour and whom I hope will continue to take personal responsibility for their actions, which remains key with the easing of lockdown restrictions.
“As we move into the next phase of lockdown, we are continuing to ask people to Think Twice about their actions - is it safe and is it fair?
- Check what amenities might be available to you at the location you’re travelling to – will the toilets be open?
- If you arrive and find a full car park, find an alternative and safe place to park, or come back later.
- Be respectful of the community you are visiting – if the bins are full, take your rubbish home.
- Check your car is in a roadworthy condition before leaving the house and take care when driving.”
This week the government has issued new guidance which, from Monday, June 1 will allow up to six people to meet outside, including in private gardens.
Mass gatherings and overnight stays are still unlawful under COVID-19 regulations and where breaches are reported, the police will respond and act accordingly.
For anyone wishing to report a breach of COVID-19 legislation, non-urgent incidents should be reported online. Always call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.
Police continue to update its COVID-19 FAQs as and when they receive new information and further clarity. For more information visit the Devon & Cornwall Police website.