Police issue 23 fixed penalty notices for lockdown breaches

Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens. - Credit: Archant

A man who drove 100 miles to see his girlfriend is among the 23 people fined by Avon and Somerset Police for defying ‘sensible advice’ during the coronavirus lockdown.

Chief constable Andy Marsh said the force is not enforcing the new rules unnecessarily but to help end the crisis with as little loss of life possible.

Speaking during a Facebook Live session with police and crime commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens on March 31, Chief Const Marsh spoke of how six of his officers have been bitten, spat at or coughed on by people claiming they have coronavirus. The offenders will be prosecuted.

He also revealed the majority of towns and neighbourhoods are ‘deserted’ and also thanked people for complying.

Chief Const Marsh said: “We’ve only issued 23 fixed penalty notices.


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“None of them were in grey areas. One was for someone who’d driven over 100 miles to visit his girlfriend.

“(In another case) four people who weren’t in the same household were out in a car. They refused to go home.

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“Most of the tickets are where people are refusing to take sensible advice.

“People who are using common sense, supporting vulnerable people, buying essential food, exercising – all of those things are very straightforward.”

Speaking on the six officers who were spat at, bitten or coughed at in an attempt of the individuals to evade arrest or to be provoked, he said: “None of these assaults happened during the enforcement of the coronavirus regulations. They all happened behind closed doors, usually domestic violence type incidents, and usually with alcohol involved.

“Some of those involved admitted it and said they were sorry.

“These are shocking incidents. It’s bad enough doing a dangerous job, let alone being assaulted and fearing you may be infected with what is a horrible and unpredictable virus.

“It’s worrying for the officers. We treat them as victims of crime.

“We prosecute the offenders and offer the officers every support to get back as soon as possible, which is what they want.

“On behalf of the police, thanks for complying. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

There will be another Facebook Live session tomorrow (Friday) at 12.30pm.

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