Latest figures show that Dorset Police has actually issued over double the number of fixed penalty notices for lockdown breaches, than previously reported.
A week ago, it said that 118 fixed penalty notices had been issued to people who’d made non-essential journeys or blatantly flouted the regulations between Sunday 29th March and Thursday 23rd April 2020. Now it says it has actually issued 255 fixed penalty notices in the county between Friday 27th March and Wednesday 29th April 2020.
It puts the disparity in the figures down to a recognised time delay in the data being processed and submitted to ACRO Criminal Records Office.
This means that Dorset Police has been issuing more fines than previously thought, despite its policy of only enforcing the rules as a last resort.
Travelled from Nottingham to visit Lulworth Cove
Latest examples where officers have issued tickets include three people who had travelled down from Surrey to ‘look at nature’, a group of four people who had driven from Slough to walk at Durdle Door and a person who had travelled from Nottingham to visit Lulworth Cove.
Across England, the latest national statistics show that 82 percent of fines were given to men and 15 percent to women, with three percent unknown. 36 percent of fines were issued to those aged 18-24, with 31 percent going to those aged 25-34, over the period from Friday 27th March to Monday 27th April 2020.
Purbeck Police team checking Ferry Road in Studland on Thursday 30th April 2020.
Earlier this week Purbeck Police reported that the majority were not flouting the rules. On Thursday 30th April 2020, the team said this on social media:
“We have continued patrolling all areas in Swanage and surrounding villages. We are still pleased to report the overwhelming majority of people are sticking to the government’s new laws. Where breaches have been discovered, suitable action has been and will continue to be taken against those not complying but overall it’s a big thank you to all those doing as they have been directed.”
Chief Constable for Dorset Police, James Vaughan said:
“We will not tolerate people who travel hundreds of miles because they want to see the sea or visit one of our tourist hotspots. The guidance is clear – we should stay at home unless we need to make essential journeys.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said:
“It’s vitally important everyone understands our county remains closed until lockdown is lifted, and we all need to continue to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. Now is not the time for people to try pushing back against the restrictions – if you persist, you will get fined.”
Business as usual
While the police operation to enforce COVID-19 restrictions continues, Dorset Police says that it is business as usual for much of the police force.
It says that since the start of the pandemic, officers and staff have investigated a range of serious offences, including a murder inquiry, drug supply, serious assaults and offences committed against children and other vulnerable people.
Hear more in the latest video update by Chief Constable for Dorset Police, James Vaughan.