Gavin Stephens, chief constable of Surrey Police, this week thanked residents for their help during the coronavirus pandemic and urged them to continue to follow Government guidelines as lockdown restrictions are eased.
He said on Thursday (2 July): “I’d like to thank the public in Surrey for their continued support during the pandemic to save lives.
“Whilst the Government has announced that lockdown restrictions will be eased on Saturday 4 July, it’s important for people to continue to take responsibility for looking after each other by following the government guidelines.
“In the last two weeks in Surrey I’m pleased to say that we haven’t had to issue any fixed penalty notices relating to the guidelines and people have engaged with us when we have addressed any issues of concern.
“We are still running a major incident structure in our response to this crisis, and planning is in place with our partners in the Local Resilience Forum for all eventualities.
“The most vulnerable people in our communities still need our continued support and my deepest condolences go out to those that have lost friends or family during this health crisis.
“This weekend may feel like a time to celebrate as we move to a new normality, but I’d urge everyone to follow the government guidelines to help to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Not all premises will be opening this weekend as some need more time to prepare. This may well have an impact on those that do choose to open as we’re expecting a busy weekend across the county.
“We have been working with licensed premises, partner agencies and licensing officers over recent weeks to identify any areas of concern and have put into place additional patrols and officers to address these.
“I’d encourage everyone to enjoy themselves this weekend responsibly as we will not tolerate drink or drug related anti-social behaviour or violence on our streets.
“Please also plan before you go out as your local venue might not be open, or could have restricted numbers.
“Our roads are just as important and this weekend our roads policing teams will be continuing to carry out enforcement activities as part of our annual drink and drug drive campaign.
Stephens also said that police would be carrying out regular patrols in Epsom during the Derby which this year is being held behind closed doors.
He added: “I’d ask the public to spare a thought for my officers out on patrol this weekend, who don’t have the opportunity to join their families as lockdown restrictions are eased.
“They are there to keep you safe and have done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic. I’ll be supporting them by joining them on patrol and I’d ask you to support them by celebrating responsibly.
“In recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of incidents reported to us.
“Last week for example we saw 4,668 incidents reported and 1,515 crimes recorded, compared to 4.654 and 1,452 in the equivalent week last year.
“It’s clear that the demand on policing has returned to the levels we saw prior to lockdown.
“One area that has seen a significant rise is violent crime, where 776 crimes were recorded last week, compared to 629 in the previous week and 645 in the equivalent week last year.
“I’m determined that this figure does not rise further with the re-opening of our night-time economy this weekend.”