Wiltshire police hammer home fines message to covid rule-breakers

By Barrie Hudson - 12 January 2021

CrimeHealth

People are being reminded that they face fines if they deliberately and blatantly breach the lockdown restrictions.

During the first week of national lockdown, nine people were issued with fixed penalty notices by Wiltshire Police for breaches of the Government’s restrictions.

Between 6 and 9 January, two men from Salisbury, two from Swindon and a man from Laverstock were fined for travelling outside their local area for non-essential purposes. A man from an unknown location was also fined.

On 07 January a woman from Swindon was fined for staying at an address overnight multiple times, and on 9 January two men in Swindon were fined for holding a gathering of more than 15 people at their home.

The latest figures show that between 4 and 10 January Wiltshire Police:

- Issued nine fixed penalty notices. There is also the retrospective addition of 26 FPNs for offences in recent weeks. This brings the overall total to 294.
- Issued 96 formal warnings to people for failing to adhere to the Government rules. Six of these were issued to businesses not complying.
- Recorded 286 reports from members of the public, either by telephone or using the force's online reporting tool.
- Recorded five covid-related crimes and 33 covid-related incidents.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said that as the country had now entered the third lockdown, there could be few reasons why people did not understand the law and the requirements placed upon all of us to keep each other and our communities safe.

He added: "The national lockdown restrictions have now been in place for a week, and, as this is the third national lockdown which we have all experienced, we would expect the public to have a good understanding about what they can and can’t do.

"The message from the Government, the NHS and Public Health England is clear – we all need to stay at home and only leave to go out in line with the limited exceptions permitted by the law. 

"Never has this message been more important, as we see the highest levels of the virus in our communities to date. Our health system is under significant strain and it only through following the rules that each of us will play our part in keeping ourselves and our community safe. 

"I know that the vast majority of people understand this and are doing their bit to take personal responsibility for their actions, I would like to thank them for the sacrifices they are making. 

"Our community teams are actively patrolling across the communities of Swindon and Wiltshire, and where we find members of the public that are blatantly breaking and flouting the law we will take action and issue fines where it is appropriate to do so."

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "The Government have been clear that people shouldn’t seek to push against the restrictions. 

"We know there are still exemptions in place, which give people reasons why they are allowed to leave their home, but we should all be doing everything we can to stop the spread of covid-19.

"This means staying at home wherever possible. I know things feel difficult at the moment, but we need to pull together to help protect the NHS and, ultimately, save lives."

Police website https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/ has a section where alleged breaches can be reported.

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