Extra police deployed to Sheffield suburb to tackle social distancing breaches after residents call for army

Extra police officers have been deployed to an area of Sheffield to deal with social distancing breaches after fed-up residents called for the army to be brought in.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 4:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 5:05 pm

Earlier this week, mobile phone footage captured a large crowd on the streets of Page Hall clearly ignoring social distancing rules brought in to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The scenes outraged residents across Sheffield, with large numbers demanding police action and calling for the army to be brought in.

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Extra police officers have been drafted into Page Hall to deal with people ignoring social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

There were also calls for the footage to be sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In response, South Yorkshire Police chiefs have increased the number of officers patrolling the suburb.

Sheffield’s District Commander, Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton said: “Different parts of our city have seen different challenges during this public health crisis. From the start of lockdown, engagement, education and offering advice has been our approach, we have only moved to enforcement where absolutely necessary.

“Sadly, we have seen concerns centred on the Page Hall area of Sheffield, in relation to breaches of government restrictions and social distancing.

“Our local teams, supported by other force resources, are on the streets on a daily basis, with our partners to deal with breaches, enforcement remains a last resort.

“Unfortunately, in Page Hall, officers have been required to exercise their powers of enforcement more regularly than other areas. They have been actively issuing fines and dispersing groups of people who are gathering in public spaces.

“In the coming days there will be an increase in police presence, as our Serious Violent Crime Taskforce assist with the dispersal of persistent groups and individuals, who we are seeing ignore regulations time and time again.”

He added: “I am aware that images and videos that have been circulated online are concerning to you and they are concerning to me, but I want to assure you that action has, is and will continue to be taken.

“I do want to acknowledge the other factors at play here. Some houses are of multiple occupancy and we have on many occasions found that large groups gathering outside a property are in fact all from the same address.”