Police not 'running around flashing' fines for people breaking lockdown rules
South Yorkshire Police are not ‘running around flashing out tickets’ penalising people for flouting the rules during the coronavirus lockdown, a top officer has said.
Chief constable Stephen Watson made the comments at a recent meeting when asked to explain the force’s approach to people who do not abide by quarantine legislation.
He said the method was to ‘explain, engage and encourage’ before handing out stricter penalties.
However, enforcement and fines of up to £120 and possible court action could follow if previous steps are ignored.
Mr Watson also urged people to ‘stick with us’ on the lockdown and raised concerns the longer the quarantine goes on for, people may find the rules ‘more and more difficult to follow.
He said if people begin to ignore the rules in future, efforts to suppress the virus ‘will be in vain’.
He said: “We recognise these restrictions are very difficult but even when we explain to people, the majority do comply.
“Enforcement is provided to us in legislation and where it is necessary of course we will enforce the restrictions, because they are there to keep people safe but this will be a last resort.
“The idea we’re going to be running around flashing out tickets is the last thing we want to do - we’re all busy, these are worrying times and we hope we don’t get to that point.
“As of last weekend, we had not enforced and not issued formal enforcement notices at all, which I think speaks well to how the public has responded to this message.
“We recognise the longer the restrictions are in place, the more the dreadful the toll this disease is taking on people and the increased anxiety levels as the government tries to arrange an exit strategy, we may get to a place where people find the restrictions more and more difficult.
“Our plea is for people to stick with it - we’ve come a long way as a country and breaking those restrictions prematurely will mean our collective efforts will have been in vain and there is simply no point in doing this.”