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Officers to continue their patrols reminding the public to stay at home

Officers are continuing to engage with communities across Dorset to ensure the public are complying with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions.

National statistics have revealed that 3,203 on-the-spot fines for alleged breaches of the lockdown laws were issued across England between Friday 27 March and Monday 13 April 2020. In Dorset 23 fixed penalty notices were issued during this period. 

Officers in Dorset are continuing to work with the public to ensure they understand and adhere to the rules, which are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, help the NHS and save lives.

Over the four day Easter bank holiday weekend, a team of officers from Dorset Police carried out patrols across the county concentrating on the main arterial routes to prevent people travelling into Dorset from other areas. Hundreds of vehicles were stopped and it was established the vast majority of the drivers were out and about for the right reasons.

Engaging and encouraging the public 

Martyn Underhill, Police & Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “These figures show the approach being taken by Dorset Police appears to be working. 

"While the scenes of empty beaches over the Bank Holiday weekend demonstrate that the vast majority of people understand the importance of staying at home, sadly there is still a tiny minority who have been making unnecessary journeys.

"The Force’s approach has been to focus on engaging with the public and encouraging them to keep within the spirit of the new measures, with enforcement action only used as a last resort.

"I’m glad to see that as a result of this  approach very few fixed penalty notices have so far had to be issued to the public. It’s vital that we now continue this level of engagement and ensure the Force does not need to change its approach."

Dorset closed to visitors

Deputy Chief Constable David Lewis said: “I am pleased to say that the vast majority of people we stopped on the roads were making essential journeys. We did speak to some people who had travelled from as far as Birmingham, Bristol, Kent, London and Brighton. The majority were educated about non-essential journeys and were asked to turn around. For the very small minority we had to resort to enforcement. 

“The situation is very clear – for now Dorset is closed to visitors. We know how fortunate we are to live in a beautiful part of the country, but our enjoyment of that, for now, will have to wait and we are working closely with our partner agencies to ensure we are issuing the same consistent message. Please do not travel here, because our officers will be continuing with their daily patrols. You will be turned around and where necessary fines will be issued. We are here to ensure people follow these rules and help to save lives.

“Overall I have been delighted with the response from our communities in Dorset who are staying at home – thank you. Our many proactive patrols showed that the majority of people who were using the outdoor areas were indeed exercising and only the occasional sunbather had to be moved on.”

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