Cambridgeshire police ‘audit’ reveals those parts of the county obeying coronoavirus laws - and of those that are not
- Credit: Archant
Fenland with four fines topped the chart in a two- day ‘audit’ by Cambridgeshire Police of offenders issued with fixed penalties for flouting coronavirus ‘stay at home’ laws.
The figures were released today by Cambridgeshire Police, days after chief constable Nick Dean announced that until Thursday only five had been issued across the county.
That figure is now growing with police in Peterborough reporting that three fines had been issued in the past two days to those “repeatedly ignoring our advice”.
In East Cambs, only one person has been fined whilst in Cambridge – where no fines were issued in the past 48 hours – the force reported their tally to date is six.
Huntingdonshire police say no fines have been issued in the past 48 hours, and their officers have issued only one since the legislation was introduced.
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In South Cambridgeshire, police were in self-congratulatory mood when they reported that their officers had not issued a single ticket.
“Well, what can we say” police reported on their Facebook page. “Big gold star to South Cambs where so far we haven’t had to issue any fines whatsoever which is really pleasing to see.”
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Chief constable Nick Dean revealed in a BBC Cambridgeshire interview on Thursday that until then five people had been issued with £60 fixed penalty fines within a 48-hour period for refusing to comply with coronavirus restrictions.
The fines – which are reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – are a last resort, he told the BBC.
“If people blatantly disregard rules and regulations and have no intention to comply with instructions to go home when out with no good reason, we will issue fines,” he said.
He described the introduction of the fines as a “real culture shock” and said people were given time to encourage them to understand them and re-adjust their daily lives accordingly.
“Ultimately we will enforce the legislation,” he said. “My officers are out there encouraging people to do so but if people over-step the mark we will need to take action. It is all about saving lives”.
Mr Dean said one of those fined was a person who was seen several times “blatantly refusing to go home”. The person was making unnecessary journeys and had been previously spoken to by police.
“How many more times do we need to explain that actually this legislation is here for a reason,” he said.
The chief constable said the force only had “a certain amount of tolerance”.
Mr Dean was quizzed about our photographic evidence of people sunbathing in Peterborough and about our photographs of those not social distancing in places such as Lincoln Road, Peterborough.
He said he could only re-iterate the importance of explaining to people the importance of staying home “and by doing so you are making a real difference and ultimately saving lives and reducing the burden of demand on the NHS”.
Mr Dean said those seen sunbathing on the Embankment demonstrated a “disregard to people’s lives to the vulnerable people we know and love across the community.
“Sunbathing or going out for unnecessary journeys are not within the spirit of the legislation and you should stay at home,” he said.
The chief constable also spoke of the way people can now go online to report breaches of the legislation.
On one day last week there had been 300 reports in by mid-afternoon of people allleging breaches of the legislation.
“People are really concerned because this is affecting everyone’s lives and families,” he said.
He said it was not about “spying on neighbours” but public reports helped him and his officers to focus resources on hot spots of breaches which could be identified.
Of Lincoln Road, Peterborough – where a week ago we published photos of large crowds gathering, many queuing for work buses – he described such reports as “concerning”.
His officers would be looking at Lincoln Road and the Millfield Park area this weekend.
Mr Dean said: “It is concerning and people really need to stop and think about a vulnerable person they know who lives in their street or connected with their family and before they go out have a thought about how they can make a difference.
“Please stay at home this weekend. It is tempting with the fine weather – but this about saving people’s lives.
“A few more weeks of lockdown legislation then go and enjoy the fine weather to come this summer.”
He told the BBC: “This is one of the most challenging times we have experienced as a police service.
“This is affecting everyone, me, my officers, my staff not only when they are at work but when they are at home. This is nationwide and critical that everyone pulls together.”