North Yorkshire Police has today pledged to get tougher on people breaking lockdown rules and “no longer waste time” with covid rule breakers.
Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for the police response in the county to covid, said officers had dealt with cases of people coming from outside the county to beauty spots and others holding birthday parties.
He said while those flouting lockdown rules were in the minority, police would come down harder on those found breaking restrictions.
Superintendent Walker told a press briefing of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, which is a partnership of emergency agencies:
“We will no longer waste time reasoning with people who do not have regard for the safety of others.
“This is not just down to the police, this is a matter of personal responsibility. Everyone should ask themselves ‘do I need to make this journey’. If the answer is no, then stay at home.”
Since the start of the new national lockdown, police have issued a total of 107 fixed penalty notices – more than double that in the first week of the lockdown in March when 46 were handed out.
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Of the amount handed out so far, 57 were to people outside North Yorkshire and 50 were to those living in the county.
Police issued 58 fines for people being outside with no reasonable excuse and 49 for indoor gatherings.
A total of 10 have so far been handed out by Harrogate police — all for being outside without good reason.
Yesterday, Mark Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs Council, said he “made no apology” for the almost 45,000 fixed penalty notices for covid breaches with have been handed out nationally.
“It is very clear that we are now at the most dangerous stage of the pandemic.
“There is a real and present risk that our health service could be overwhelmed and people – our friends and family – could die needlessly from this virus.
“So, we must all play a part in stopping that from happening.”