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Police ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

It’s important we keep the threat of covid-19 at the forefront of our minds and stick to the rules at each stage of the ‘roadmap’ out of the winter 2020 lockdown, say police ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Martin Hewitt, said that still a small number of people blatantly disregard the rules, attending and organising large gatherings, such as illegal parties or unlicensed music events. He said: “Forces up and down the country have shut down a number of these selfish and unsafe events, and officers won’t let up in their efforts over the coming weeks.

“The same applies for large indoor gatherings, and any person who organises or attends these can also expect to be fined. Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, I also want to remind everyone that there are still limits on how many people can meet up in groups outside. As the weather has improved and restrictions have eased, we have seen several large gatherings in outdoor spaces, most commonly in parks.

“I understand that people are excited to see their friends and family again after such a long time, but it really is vital people continue to follow the rules at each stage of the government’s roadmap or we risk undermining our efforts up to now. Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time.”

At a more local level, Avon and Somerset Insp Ruth Gawler said that the vast majority of people have played their part by adhering to the lockdown rules; however a small minority have chosen to ignore the rules; such as by holding parties, and pub lock-ins, in breach of covid regulations. She said: “Our approach to dealing with such incidents remains the same – we will engage with the public, explain the rules and encourage them to comply. But enforcement through fines remains an option, especially for those responsible for the blatant and deliberate breaches we’ve been called out to deal with in recent days.

“We fully understand everyone is delighted by the easing of restrictions, but we continue to urge people to be cautious and follow the rules to limit the spread of COVID, which has already claimed thousands of lives across the country.”

Meanwhile Essex Police have released images of 132 people, mainly young, suspected of attending an unlicensed music event which caused damage to a rural church in East Horndon, near Brentwood; who police want to identify. Also in Essex, police have made a dispersal order in Old Leigh over the coming Bank Holiday weekend. Insp Paul Hogben, of the Southend Community Policing Team, asked anyone who had planned to go to the area to be antisocial and create disorder, not to. He said: “This order gives us the power to remove you from the area and failure to follow any direction from us is a criminal offence.”


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