FOUR specially trained Covid marshals began patrolling the New Forest area today (Wednesday).
Dubbed ‘Covid safety ambassadors’ (CSAs) by the district council, they will patrol town centres, parks and train stations to make sure people are following the rules.
A spokesperson for NFDC confirmed it had been allocated £71,000 from the government to raise awareness of Covid-19 and help with compliance.
The council’s cabinet member for community affairs, Cllr Diane Andrews, said: “It’s a comfort to see our friendly Covid safe ambassadors will be out and about as part of our community.
“We know that our residents want to do the right thing and our ambassadors will be able to offer the public reassurance and confidence, and give reminders on social distancing, wearing of face coverings, and good hand-hygiene.”
She added: “We have identified, with the help of our partners and other organisations in the district, some local areas that may benefit from someone on hand to offer reassurance and advice – for example in high streets on market days, at busy schools, and at transport terminals.
“The CSAs are not there to enforce any rare breaches, but if required, they will collaborate with other agencies on that, they are there to offer advice and reassurance to the public.”
Jordan Saint, who usually works in leisure services, has been redeployed to become a CSA, who will have ID badges and will be wearing orange and black branded hi-vis jackets.
He said: “I’m really pleased that I can play my part in helping people to understand how they can meet the restrictions and keep everyone safe. It can be confusing when the rules change. I see my role as being able to give a friendly reminder and as someone to seek advice from.”
Meanwhile, Dorset Police promised “swift and decisive” action, as it launched dedicated Covid-19 patrols.
Operation Tattoo started last month with a specially assigned force car patrolling the county seven days a week during the pandemic to deal with any virus-related issues. There is extended cover from a second unit between 4pm and midnight every day.
The announcement followed Covid-19-related calls to the force’s command centre rising to 164 during the second week of the last lockdown. More than 20 fixed penalty notices were issued for breaches.
Police respond to house party alert
IN Christchurch police responded to reports at least 10 people were seen on a multimedia messaging app having a house party in breach of Covid-19 regulations.
A member of the public raised the alarm last Friday evening, saying the revellers had been pictured on Snapchat, but nothing was found when officers attended the scene.
Posting on the Dorset Police Twitter account, a force spokesperson said officers would be returning to the area later in their shift.