The Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro said public co-operation in Surrey remained key following tighter Covid-19 restrictions announced by the government yesterday.
The PCC said he supported Surrey Police’s approach that enforcement should remain the last resort but said anyone who continued to break the rules or refused to comply with officers should expect to face the full force of powers available to officers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced that fines for breaching Covid-19 restrictions are doubling to £200 and that pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm as part of stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus.
Surrey Police have so far been successfully following the four E approach to dealing with any breach of the Covid-19 restrictions – Engage. Explain. Encourage. Enforce.
Officers will try to engage with someone, explain how they are breaking the rules, and encourage them to change their behaviour to reduce the risk to public safety and health.
If people still do not follow the rules the police can order them to disperse, tell parents to stop their children breaking the rule or issue a fine. If someone continues to ignore the instructions, the police can arrest them if officers think it is proportionate and necessary.
PCC David Munro said: “I spoke to the Chief Constable yesterday following the Prime Minister’s announcement and the Force will remain steadfast in their ‘Four E’ approach to dealing with anyone breaching the rules.
“I believe this approach remains the right one but that small minority who continue to flout the restrictions and put others at risk should expect to face the full force of the powers available to officers.
“There will undoubtedly be an extra strain on resources over the coming week and months but Surrey Police are well prepared and will continue to work together with our partners and the county’s residents during this difficult time.
“Nobody wants to see tighter restrictions on our way of life but we are at a critical stage where the number of cases is starting to rise again. We must all play our part and take personal responsibility in trying halt the spread of the virus and avoid another complete lockdown.
“So far the response of the vast majority of the Surrey public has been excellent and I repeat my thanks to them for their continued support and discipline in sticking to the rules. That ongoing co-operation will be absolutely key to making sure our officers can do their job and police by consent over the coming weeks.”