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Martyn Underhill supports call for review of lockdown travel guidelines

Martyn Underhill is among the Police and Crime Commissioners to support a call for the Government to review the interpretation of lockdown travel guidelines.

The Dorset PCC has given his support to a group of organisations representing rural communities who are asking Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to review the lockdown enforcement measures.

The National Police Chief’s Council and College of Policing published new guidance last week, suggesting that members of the public may be able to drive to locations before carrying out their daily exercise, rather than carrying out exercise only from their front doors.

The letter, co-signed by the heads of the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), NFU, Countryside Alliance and CLA, calls for Crown Prosecution Service charging advice – upon which the policing guidance is based – to be reviewed.

The letter states: “There are, sadly, a great many of us who believe that the published NPCC and College of Policing guidelines around exercise and permissible distances to travel to do so, will make managing COVID-19 more difficult, as well as cause untold anxieties across rural communities.

“We receive hundreds of concerned messages a day about people flouting the law, and there are great concerns that the new policing guidance will encourage even more people to carry out unnecessarily long journeys to exercise in rural areas, which will in turn put increased pressures on rural police forces and communities.”

Martyn Underhill, PCC for Dorset, said: “While I completely accept that the lockdown measures are difficult for everyone, they are in place for a very good reason and the message needs to be – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. I fully agree with the NCRN and others that anything which complicates that message is unhelpful.”

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