Coronavirus: Police warn against non-essential travel in Easter holidays

PEOPLE should be prepared for police to ask them why they are outside, a senior officer has said.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:50 pm

Hampshire police assistant chief constable Scott Chilton said his team, along with residents, are adjusting to the new emergency powers brought in to enforce a lockdown.

It comes as the force urged people to follow the guidance against any non-essential travel during the Easter holidays.

Mr Chilton urged people to follow the government advice on only going out for shopping, exercise, medical need, or commuting if neccessary.

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Police presence in Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Coronavirus Act 2020 allows for other reasons for people to be outside of their homes.

But Mr Chilton said: 'We are trying to engage, explain and encourage everyone to follow the advice being issued by my officers.

'We may need to ask you about your circumstances if we see you out and about or travelling so please continue to consider if your journey is essential.

'However, where people do not comply, then we will direct people to go home, and, if necessary, we will issue a fine. We see this as a last resort, but we will use our powers if we have to.

'Each and every one of us can find a way to interpret the law to suit our individual circumstances. The whole purpose of these measures is to avoid unnecessary contact and reduce the spread of infection. We all have a part to play in that.'

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The force stopped short of saying if it had fined anyone £60, if it had directed anyone home or made any arrests under the powers.

Mr Chilton thanked the public for how 'people have adapted to quite unique and challenging circumstances'.

He added: 'We will continue to be out this weekend to ensure social distancing is happening and everyone is staying safe.’

Boris Johnson has urged people to resist the ‘temptation’ to break coronavirus lockdown rules should the weather hot up this weekend.

The Prime Minister said he understood ‘everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy’, particularly if they have children in the house, and people may want to ‘hang out’ over the weekend.

However, Mr Johnson, who is continuing to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, warned Britons to ‘stick with the guidance’ in a bid to help ease the pressure on the NHS.

Downing Street said that ministers were prepared to bring in further measures if people ignored the official advice.