Dozens of people handed fines for breaching coronavirus rules in Suffolk as police re-emphasise lockdown enforcement will be carried out
Police issued dozens of fines to people in Suffolk over the weekend for breaching the latest coronavirus rules.
Officers said they handed out 39 fixed penalty notices to people in the county on Saturday and Sunday, compared to just six fines over the previous weekend.
It comes as Suffolk Police is re-iterating its warning that officers will be more inquisitive during the latest lockdown measures aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19.
They said, while the force will continue with its approach of engage, encourage and explain, first, they will issue fines to people who are 'blatantly flouting' the rules.
The police force is sharing the message that residents in Suffolk should stay as local as possible to where they live.
"Where people are breaching the regulations and they are away from home without a reasonable excuse, they may be issued with a FPN," a spokesman said.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones added that it was 'incumbent on us all to do the right and responsible thing' and adhere to the rules.
"Let’s be clear that criminal justice sanctions will not be the answer to beating the pandemic – it lies with public health imperatives, so that means ensuring us all behaving as if we have the virus ourselves," he said.
"You may not know you have it, but you may be asymptomatic so you could be spreading it without knowing it to others, including the vulnerable.
"We are currently at a critical point in terms of reported daily cases and deaths so it is incumbent on us all to do the right and responsible thing and adhere to the rules. It really is that simple.”
Suffolk Police has seen an increase in calls into the Contact and Control Room asking for advice on guidance as to what to do in certain situations or to report a potential breach.
Officers said while they are encouraged to see the public 'taking responsibility', they want to remind residents that phonelines 'need to be kept free for reporting crime and intelligence purposes'.
ACC Jones added: "If you see a breach you can report it on the online reporting tool.
"This allows our CCR call handlers to be able to take calls from people reporting criminality, suspicious behaviour or where a crime is in action. While we urge the public to look at the gov.uk site for the latest and definitive guidance on the rules.
"Responding to emergencies is our daily business and we need to make sure we can continue to deliver our core services and respond to urgent calls and protecting people from harm.
"That will always be our priority, so we thank you for your understanding and co-operation.”
The news that Suffolk Police has issued the fines comes as the county crossed a sobering milestone today, as the latest data has shown that 1,000 people have lost their lives to coronavirus in Suffolk.
The number of deaths from the disease, which exploded in March last year, is equivalent to the entire population of Southwold, Boxford, or Fornham St Martin.
Stuart Keeble, director of public health in the county, has warned there would be further deaths and urged residents to play their part in keeping infections down by staying at home.