DORSET Police is urging the public to ‘think twice’ about their actions and act responsibly while travelling across the county.
Since the government relaxed the lockdown restrictions on travel and exercise, there has been a notable rise in the number of people visiting the county’s beaches, parks, forests and beauty spots.
As the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is being asked to take responsibility for their actions and do the right thing by everyone.
Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “We are very fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country and with the stunning weather we have been experiencing it is not a surprise that people want to come and visit.
“Dorset residents are also desperate to get back out to see their favourite places. The relaxation of the rules now make this possible.
“However, the government is still asking us all to stay home as much as possible and limit contact with people we don’t live with.
“Partner agencies in Dorset are asking people to take their exercise locally and for those who live elsewhere to save their visits to Dorset for a later date, to avoid crowding at popular places and beauty spots. If too many people flock to these places social distancing cannot be achieved.
“We’re asking people to think twice about what they’re doing, question is it safe and is it fair, and do the right thing. Each of us need to take responsibility for controlling the spread of coronavirus.
“If you are visiting our beaches it is important to remember that the RNLI lifeguards are not operating a full service and everyone needs to think sea safety when they head out into the water.
“We have received an increase in reports of people staying overnight at locations across Dorset in caravans, campervans, vehicles or tents. While people can visit their second homes, staying overnight in a camper van, holiday home or a second home is not allowed.
“We will use common sense and discretion to determine what’s reasonable. Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the regulations and guidance and encourage people to follow what is being asked of them. Enforcement is a very last resort.”
Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, added: “Our message is very clear. Think twice before travelling into Dorset, and if you live in our county use your common sense before going to beaches or beauty spots that could easily become very crowded.
“If there are a lot of people in areas such as Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door, it will be impossible for them to stay two metres apart. If you don’t think you’ll be able to avoid getting close to people you should avoid these places.
“No matter how nice the weather will be over the bank holiday weekend, it isn’t worth the risk of becoming infected or passing on the virus to others.”
Between Friday, March 27 and Thursday, May 21, Dorset Police has issued 875 fixed penalty notices to people who have allegedly breached the COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions. Very few fines have been issued over the last week, the rise in numbers is as a result of the fines being processed and recorded.
From Monday, May 25 Dorset Police will be stepping up its education and enforcement of the ‘fatal five’, with a focus on speed as part of a national operation.
Officers will be reminding motorists of the importance of travelling safely and within the speed limit and will be carrying out education and enforcement measures to target those not sticking to the rules.
Sites receiving attention from officers will either focus on locations where collisions have occurred in the past, or areas highlighted to the Force that are of concern to local residents.