‘Fines are a last resort but we will use them if we have to’

Senior Hampshire Police Officer warns public that officers may take action if people break lockdown over Easter.

Hampshire Constabulary have issued the following advice for the Easter Break:

This weekend marks the beginning of the Easter holidays for families across Hampshire, and with it an upturn in weather is expected.

Normally, the Easter holidays would signify catching up with family and friends and spending time outside in the many open spaces, beaches and national parks that are available to us throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

However in these unprecedented times, the public, as well as the police, are continuing to adjust to the new measures put in place by the UK Government due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton, said:

“As we all adjust to these new measures, it has been reassuring to see how well people have adapted to quite unique and challenging circumstances. And I want to thank you for that.

We appreciate that everyone will want to take advantage of the expected upturn in weather and visit local green spaces, beaches and national parks.

But right now, our main priority is to protect our local communities, and as such we would urge everyone to follow the government advice; stay at home to prevent the spread of infection and keep our loved ones safe.

We will continue to be out this weekend to ensure social distancing is happening and everyone is staying safe.”

The public are being reminded that the Government have advised that people should only leave their home for very limited purposes, which include:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood,, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

ACC Chilton, continued:

“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.”