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Police say people abiding lockdown laws - but 126 still fined

PUBLISHED: 17:41 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:37 17 April 2020

Police patrol the supermarkets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Attleborough, making sure the public keep the 2m social distancing rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police patrol the supermarkets during the Coronavirus lockdown in Attleborough, making sure the public keep the 2m social distancing rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

A Norfolk police chief said they are “grateful” to the public for the support they have shown in abiding lockdown laws to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Norfolk Police's assistant chief constable for Norfolk Constabulary, Julie Wvendth. Photo: Norfolk ConstabularyNorfolk Police's assistant chief constable for Norfolk Constabulary, Julie Wvendth. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Recently released figures show that 126 people in Norfolk and 95 in Suffolk have been fined for flouting lockdown laws brought in to help stop the spread of Covid-19 following the outbreak of the epidemic.

The figures, which are for fines issued by police forces in England between March 27 and April 13 for alleged breaches of the new coronavirus lockdown laws, put the Norfolk force above the likes of Greater Manchester (38), Mersyside (42) and Metropolitan (81) in terms of fines issued.

But Norfolk Police said they were “really pleased” with the figures regarding those flouting coronavirus laws despite bosses insisting that the actual number of fines would be between 10 and 15 lower because of errors in the way they have been recorded.

Assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth said Norfolk Police had to date received more than 2600 calls regarding people breaching coronavirus lockdown laws and had formally warned about 800 people.

A dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technicians who are carrying out diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA WireA dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technicians who are carrying out diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The fact that the force had been recorded as having issued just 126 fines was something she said the force was “really pleased” about and demonstrated the public’s help and the force’s policy about warning and informing those who had been breaching the government’s guidelines.

She said: “We’re really pleased. We’re really grateful to the public along with the agencies across the county we’ve worked in partnership with.”

The assistant chief constable said the figures were even more impressive given that much of the county was a tourist location and that north Norfolk in particular, was full of second home owners.

It was a message that was emphasised by a force spokesman, who said: “The overwhelming majority of people in Norfolk are adhering to the restrictions on movement to help stop the spread of the virus.

“Our approach to dealing with people who flout the law is fair but firm; officers follow a four-step escalation process and we will engage, explain and encourage in the first instance.

“Enforcement is last resort and, as the figures demonstrate, there have been many occasions where officers have been left with no other option.”


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