Police warn crackdown will continue across Lancashire

Police in Lancashire have vowed to continue using their new powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 5:00 pm
Police officers check motorists in Garstang Road, Preston.

The force issued 123 fines over the weekend to people ignoring the rules on social distancing, one of the highest numbers for any force in the UK.

But despite claims that some forces were being “heavy-handed” in their approach to the nationwide lockdown, Lancashire say their officers will continue enforcing the measures brought in by the Government last Thursday to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Our aim is to encourage and support our communities to comply fully with the restrictions,” said a spokesman.

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“During this time people will see an increased visible presence in their communities. We will be patrolling public spaces and engaging with people to make sure they understand the government requirements including the ban on gatherings of more than two people and non-essential journeys.

“The vast majority of people are fully complying with the guidance and advice. For the small number who aren’t we will use enforcement.

"We have no desire to use the formal powers we have been given and we will continue to police by consent and use common sense and understanding but its right that we’re able to enforce against those who deliberately disregard these measures and put people at risk.

"These new measures are proportionate and necessary to address the threat this pandemic presents but we will only use them when we need them.

"We will continue to police by consent where we can and with the trust and help of our communities.

"We’d also like to thank the vast majority of people who are sticking to the rules and helping to stop the spread of the virus in Lancashire.

Lancashire’s figure of 123 is almost five times the number of fines issued across the whole of Scotland at the weekend. Cheshire issued only six and Bedfordshire none.