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Coronavirus - Thank you for your help in keeping people safe

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the support that the public have given us over the last week and a half.

Since the new restrictions were introduced, forces like our own have been responsible for doing something I’ve never seen during my four decades in policing, and never thought I would see during my lifetime. 

Enforcing a lockdown, in which members of the public are not allowed to leave their home apart from in very limited circumstances, is a very unusual position for a country like the UK, which has a long tradition of policing by consent.

It is also a huge thing to ask from members of the public who have grown up in a free society, who quite rightly have never known what it’s like to live with restrictions on their movements.

Importance of new measures

But people across Dorset have been quick to understand the importance of these new measures and to abide by the rules.

Sadly, there is still a small minority who have continued to make non-essential journeys.

The government guidelines are very clear. Don’t go outside unless it’s absolutely essential – that includes going out for medical supplies or food, going out to work if you’re not able to do so from home, or going out for one form of exercise a day. Although we’re fortunate enough to live in one of the UK’s most beautiful counties, this one form of exercise doesn’t involve getting in your car and driving to a beauty spot.

Live within the spirit of the rules

The police will tell people to turn around and go home if they are making non-essential journeys, and they do have the powers to issue fixed penalty notices for those who refuse to do so or who are seen blatantly flouting these rules.

But I’m very happy to say that here in Dorset, officers have only had to issue on the spot fines on a tiny handful of occasions.

The vast majority are happy to continue to work with the police and live within the spirit of the rules.

We know that this is a difficult time for everyone in our communities. More than ever, Dorset Police is here to reassure people in the county that the Force is there for them, keeping them safe from crime and helping prevent the spread of the virus.

We will only get through this if we all work together. Once again, let me thank you for your efforts in helping keep each other safe.

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

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