Surrey Police thank public as lockdown measures eased

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Just one fine was issued by Surrey Police for breach of the coronavirus rules in the three weeks to Friday 6 July, with the force thanking residents for their continued support.

Numbers of Covid-19 related fixed penalty notices issued in England and Wales were released on Friday (10 July) by the National Police Chiefs Council, showing that fines have fallen as lockdown restrictions have eased.

Across the whole of lockdown, 16,019 fines were issued by forces in England between 27 March and 6 July, of which 511 were issued in Surrey and 866 in Sussex.

Surrey is listed as 10th out of 41 forces in England for the number of fines issued in that period.

From 1 June, it has been lawful for groups of up to six people to meet outdoors in England (as long as social distancing measures are maintained).

Where groups exceed that size, officers across the UK are guided to use the 4Es (Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce) to bring about compliance with the rules.

Superintendent Graham Barnett is overseeing the policing response to the Covid-19 virus in Surrey.

He said: “This new data is a demonstration of just how determined our communities in Surrey have been to reducing the spread of the virus.

“I’d like to thank everyone for complying with the Government regulations and engaging with us when we have been alerted to potential concerns or breaches of the legislation.

“In recent weeks the policing response across the UK has focused on blatant breaches of the rules.

“The fact that in the last three weeks only one fine has had to be issued in Surrey demonstrates that people have respected the government regulations.

“We will of course continue to enforce the regulations in place when it is proportionate to do so, but you can expect our teams to use the 4Es approach, so as to explain why people should think twice about taking part in any restricted activity, giving them an opportunity to understand the importance of these before any enforcement action takes place.

“As measures begin to lift, there are fewer circumstances where someone may be in breach. It’s important to remember that our officers do not enforce government guidance, such as social distancing.

“I would however like to take this opportunity to remind people to continue to take responsibility for looking after each other by following the government regulations and guidelines.

“We should not become complacent to ensure that the spread of the virus does not increase again, which could undo all of the hard work that each and every one of our communities across Surrey has undertaken.”