People are only allowed out to buy food and other essential items, or for their one permitted daily bit of exercise, under new regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and they have been told to only travel when absolutely essential.
Anyone flouting the rules can now be fined £60 for a first offence, with South Yorkshire Police encouraging members of the public to report any breaches online.
Police have been stopping drivers on Sheffield streets, including Chesterfield Road in Heeley and on the A61 Penistone Road near Neepsend, to check people are adhering to the rules.
Officers have now responded to criticism that they are being overzealous in enforcing the restrictions.
South Yorkshire Police’s Operational Support unit pointed out the rules were there to ‘keep everyone as safe as possible’ and the more people who followed them the sooner everyone could ‘get back to enjoying life as we knew it’.
“Second, on the subject of fines, not a single fine has been issued in relation to breaches of the public health regs. Not one. To anybody,” they added in a Facebook message posted on Sunday evening.
“At the minute, we appreciate that this is a massive upheaval for people and turned their lives upside down - ours too. Whilst that isn't to say we won't issue fines in the future, if circumstances make that seem the appropriate and proportionate course of action, for now, we are trying to educate people by pointing out how they are in contravention of the public health regs and asking them to go home.
“We're hoping that after a reasonable conversation, we can make people see that the goal of these new regs is for the benefit of everyone. Putting it very bluntly, the fewer people we say goodbye to as a result of this virus, the better…
“The regs are there for everyone to read. We all need to apply a bit of the old common sense and do our best to stick to them, however frustrating and inconvenient that might be. And we appreciate your support in doing that.”