Coronavirus: Police urge public to stay at home over Easter during lockdown

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Easter lockdown
Officers are empowered to penalise people who fail to heed the government-imposed restrictions (Photo: Stock image)

PEOPLE are being urged to resist the temptation to go out to enjoy the sunny weather during the Easter holidays as police continue to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Officers are patrolling open spaces, beaches and national parks to ensure the public obey the restrictions imposed by the government to limit the spread of the disease which has claimed thousands of lives across the UK.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton praised the majority of the public who have so far adapted to the situation and avoided making unnecessary journeys.

However, he warned that officers may ask people why they are out and about and, if they are found to be breaching the lockdown, they will be told to go home. Fines could also be issued, although this measure was described as a “last resort”.

“As we all adjust to these new measures, it has been reassuring to see how well people have adapted to quite unique and challenging circumstances. And I want to thank you for that,” Mr Chilton said.

“We appreciate that everyone will want to take advantage of the expected upturn in weather and visit local green spaces, beaches and national parks.

“But right now our main priority is to protect our local communities, and as such we would urge everyone to follow the government advice: stay at home to prevent the spread of infection and keep our loved ones safe.”

The public are reminded that the government advises they should only leave their home for very limited purposes, which include:

• shopping for basic necessities, including food and medicine

• one form of exercise a day, such as a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of the same household

• any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

• travelling for work purposes, but only when work cannot be done from home

Mr Chilton continued: “We may need to ask you about your circumstances if we see you out and about or travelling so please continue to consider if your journey is essential.

“However, where people do not comply, we will direct people to go home and, if necessary, we will issue a fine. We see this as a last resort but we will use our powers if we have to.

“Each and every one of us can find a way to interpret the law to suit our individual circumstances. The whole purpose of these measures is to avoid unnecessary contact and reduce the spread of infection. We all have a part to play in that.”

Visitor from Slough among lockdown flouters

A PERSON from Slough visiting the New Forest for fresh air, and a skateboarder filming stunts were among those found flouting the lockdown recently.

Three breaches were reported on Sunday evening in a post on the Hampshire Police Rural Twitter account, although it pointed out it had been a quiet weekend in the district overall.

“Travelling from Slough to Bramshaw for fresh air, making a skateboard movie at Ocknell Pond [in Fritham] when you are from Portsmouth and meeting five friends from different counties for a walk is not following #StayHomeSaveLives,” the tweet said.

Easter lockdown
A PCSO patrols Howards Mead, Pennington, in response to drug dealing reports (Photo Hampshire police)

Officers responded to reports of drug dealing and youths congregating at Howards Mead in Pennington on Sunday. Although no one was found on arrival, they vowed to continue monitoring the spot.

A group of youths was caught smoking cannabis on a bench by an officer patrolling the Waterside area last Wednesday night.

Waterside Police tweeted afterwards: “Cannabis is still illegal and not an essential reason for being out with persons not of same household.”

Barriers erected at seafront car parks and Bolton’s Bench

SEAFRONT car parks across the New Forest have been closed by the district council
as motorists continue to be urged not to make unnecessary trips.

Barriers have been erected at entrances and exits to the car parks at locations including Milford and Barton.

One has also been put up blocking car parks at the popular Bolton’s Bench spot at Lyndhurst.

A Facebook post by NFDC said: “Please stay local and #StayHomeSaveLives.”

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