Community update from T/ACC Julie Wvendth
Read the latest community update from Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Julie Wvendth
This week saw the long-awaited easing of restrictions around social contact with the return of outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households. It nicely coincided with some good weather and welcome sunshine, which in other parts of the country brought people out in public spaces in their hundreds, if not thousands. Fortunately, these scenes haven’t been replicated in Norfolk and I’m pleased to say there’s little to report by way of coastal areas or beauty spots being overrun with visitors. This is great news and shows we continue to work together to protect ourselves and protect the wider community.
As we could have predicted, the warm-spell was short lived with temperatures dropping once again and snow even forecast in some places next week. The cooler weather may well come as a relief to our coastal residents, wary of being swamped by visitors on this Easter bank holiday weekend. And while we will have officers out and about in our popular destinations, our approach to enforcement will look different to what it has been in the last few months during lockdown. As restrictions are eased, our policing approach and focus needs to change and adapt to reflect the most blatant breaches. We are continuing with our neighbourhood policing style using the four Es response of engage, explain and encourage with enforcement used where it is appropriate and proportionate to do so.
A subject which once again attracted commentary last week was travel. With the ‘stay at home’ rule ending on Monday, the government are now advising people to minimise travel wherever possible. The important thing to remember here is that this is guidance and not within regulations so therefore we cannot enforce this. We would just ask that you continue to act responsibly – be sensible and ask yourselves if the travel is ‘necessary’.
However, tempting a reunion or party may be, gatherings of more than two households or six people are still banned and anyone involved in organising or attending a house party where more than 15 people are present, face an £800 fine. I’m sure many of you will have plans for the Easter weekend, meeting family and friends in the gardens or outdoors spaces…wrapped up warm with a blanket or two of course! My message to everyone is to be sensible and play it safe – this is the only way we can guarantee we’ve done everything within our power to make the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown a reality.