OVER the past month, Dorset Police has issued 118 fines to those found making non-essential journeys of blatantly flouting social distancing regulations.
Officers are continuing their patrols on Dorset’s roads, key locations and beauty spots to ensure the public adhere to the government’s ‘stay at home’ rules to tackle the coronavirus.
Between Sunday, March 29 and Thursday, April 23 Dorset Police issued 118 fixed penalty notices to people who have been found to be making non-essential journeys or flouting the regulations. Just over half of the total fines issued, 60, were handed to non-Dorset residents.
Examples have included a group of five motorcyclists from Southampton out for a ride; people from Uxbridge and Hampshire who had gone for a drive because they were bored; someone travelling from Winchester to drop fishing rods to a friend; and someone transporting a vintage car on the back of his vehicle to deliver elsewhere.
Figures on the latest fines were released as Dorset Police released a message to the public, saying now was not the time to become complacent with the regulations.
Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “While our roads are far quieter than normal I am disappointed by the very small minority of people who continue to flout the rules. Now is not the time to become complacent and we all need to do our bit to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
“Our officers will continue to patrol across Dorset to ensure that people are only making essential journeys. They will continue to engage with the public, explain the rules and encourage people to go home. We will only enforce as a very last resort.
“I appreciate these restrictions are not easy but it is essential that we all stick with it. I am aware there has been much discussion around recently issued guidance about the legislation and what it does and doesn’t specifically prohibit.
“Our message remains the same – the legal aspects of the legislation are based on whether a person’s actions are reasonable or not. Our officers will continue to make individual judgements based on the specific circumstances presented to them. We all ask for people to stick within the spirit of the legislation and make every effort to stay at home.
“We continue to receive calls and online reports from members of the public reporting breaches and I’d like to reassure the public that we are responding to this information.
“Overall, I have been delighted by the positive response from the public in relation to these measures. The pictures of our empty beaches, parks, forests and high streets prove that our communities fully understand what is being asked of them and they are complying – so I’d like to say a very big thank you for this.”
A wide range of FAQs have been uploaded to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) section of the Dorset Police website www.dorset.police.uk