Search

‘Some people have no common sense’: Police warn enforcing guidelines could be ‘impossible’

PUBLISHED: 12:59 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:10 11 May 2020

PC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Denise Bradley

PC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

Enforcing new looser lockdown guidelines could prove “impossible” when some people have shown they “don’t have much common sense”, Norfolk Police Federation has warned.

Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Andy SymondsAndy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Andy Symonds

Announcing an easing of restrictions, Boris Johnson said that from Wednesday people will be able to spend more time outdoors, sitting or sunbathing in parks, unlimited exercise and playing sports with people from the same household.

MORE: Can I see my family? All you need to know about the new lockdown rules

Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation, which represents officers in the county, said clear guidance was needed on how the looser measures will be policed.

“I am hoping that within the new guidance it is extremely clear, though I have my doubts because the last guidelines really left us trying to interpret it,” he said.

“It has now got to the position where it is almost impossible for us to try to police these things.

Cromer police Pc Joey Mazzetti, left, and PC Cameron Askew, patrol the promenade checking that people are not congregating in groups of more than two. Picture: Denise BradleyCromer police Pc Joey Mazzetti, left, and PC Cameron Askew, patrol the promenade checking that people are not congregating in groups of more than two. Picture: Denise Bradley

“All we want is clarity. Whether it is a case of us taking a step back and allowing people to self-police. It puts us in an invidious position without any proper guidance.

“We could be relying on people’s common sense when some people have shown they don’t have much common sense. We have seen that in small parts of the community with the number of fixed penalty notices that we have had to issue to people not adhering to the current guidance.”

Over the bank holiday weekend hundreds of people flocked to beaches and open spaces in the county, with Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey saying some told his officers they thought lockdown was over.

He said: “The really disappointing thing is that hundreds of people have travelled, in some cases considerable distances, to spend the afternoon on the beach. After having arrived, social distancing just disappeared.”

Handout image issued by Downing Street of Boris Johnson's new Handout image issued by Downing Street of Boris Johnson's new "stay alert" slogan to tackle coronavirus. Photo: Downing Street/PA Wire

MORE: ‘They thought lockdown was over’- police chief’s concerns after hundreds head to beaches

The new looser guidelines means households will be able to drive to other destinations such as parks and beaches, but social distancing rules - keeping at least two metres away from people outside your household - must still be followed.

Lockdown fines will rise to £100 on Wednesday. But the first fine someone receives if police believe they are flouting the restrictions on movement amid the coronavirus outbreak will be lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days, according to the Home Office.

Fines will double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

Mr Symonds said: “How are we going to be able to police it? That is the big question mark and that is the frustration of police officers.

“We are the bad guys in this for small parts of the community. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

- For updates on how coronavirus is affecting Norfolk, please visit our Facebook page here

- Subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, with all the latest from where you live


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Norfolk News. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the North Norfolk News