Public’s 5,000 calls to police to report lockdown breaches
PUBLISHED: 13:47 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:47 01 May 2020
Almost 5,000 people in Norfolk have contacted the police amid fears about breaches of lockdown rules.
The calls have led to more than 240 people being handed on-the-spot fines for flouting restrictions imposed as part of the government’s response to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Since the introduction of legislation giving police new powers to enforce the lockdown residents have made 4,677 calls, a figure which Norfolk Constabulary says “clearly shows this is something the public feel strongly about”.
But the force has stressed that “the overwhelming majority of people in Norfolk continue to follow” restrictions.
On April 16, figures showed that 126 people in the county had been served with fixed penalty notices for breaking the rules brought in after prime minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on March 23.
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In the following two weeks, up to April 30, Norfolk Constabulary confirmed that a further 117 fines had been issued, taking the total number of notices handed out so far to 243.
As a result of 1,881 calls made by Norfolk residents in the last fortnight, 804 warnings have been issued taking the total number to around 1,600 since restrictions were put into place.
Last month, assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth – Norfolk’s silver commander for helping police to tackle the virus – assured residents that officers were not being overly zealous with the new powers, and said they were being used “minimally in Norfolk”.
In a statement on Thursday, April 30, the force said their approach to enforcing restrictions “has not changed” stating that enforcement would only be used “as a last resort” with a process of “engage, explain and encourage” being the preferred policy.
Norfolk Constabulary’s statement said: “The primary purpose for imposing these restrictions is to stop the spread of this deadly virus and therefore it is essential we continue to follow the guidance and deal with people appropriately who ignore them.
“We have to recognise as time passes people may be find it harder to follow social isolation rules, but it is important to remember that the guidance from the government remains the same. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
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