This weekend, police officers will be continuing to patrol Purbeck to prevent non-essential travel to beaches and beauty spots and will fine those who they judge aren’t behaving reasonably.
This is to ensure the public adheres to the UK Government’s stay at home rules, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
118 fixed penalty notices
Dorset Police say they have already issued 118 fixed penalty notices to people who’ve made non-essential journeys or were blatantly flouting the regulations, between Sunday 29th March and Thursday 23rd April 2020. They say that just over half of the total fines issued, 60, were handed to non-Dorset residents.
Examples of those, who the police say have been caught not acting within the spirit of the law, 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.
Disappointed by the very small minority
Chief Constable for Dorset Police, 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.”
View the full video message from the Chief Constable for Dorset Police, James Vaughan.