The Chief Constable of Essex Police has said that the police force won’t let “fragrant and deliberate” flouting of Covid-19 rules slide.
The reaction comes as police forces up and down the country gain extra powers to fight lockdown rule breakers.
Those not wearing a mask in required settings or anyone out and about where they shouldn’t be could be fined £200 on the spot.
Home Secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel has ordered the crackdown on Covid-19 rulebreakers, as Covid-19 figures across Essex reach record numbers.
BJ Harrington – the Chief Constable of Essex Police – tweeted to assure the public that Essex Police will used discretion, but will be firm with rulebreakers.
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He tweeted: “I assure people of Essex that Essex Police will continue to Engage, Explain & Encourage people to observe guidelines that help save lives.
“Officers will use discretion & judgement, but will enforce regulations where there are flagrant or deliberate breaches.”
Earlier this week, Priti Patel defended strict enforcement of measures, saying: “Our police officers are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Not only are they continuing to take criminals off our streets, but they are also playing a crucial role in controlling the spread of the virus.
“The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules.
“But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country’s recovery from this deadly virus.
“Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that. Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary.”
Earlier this week, Derbyshire Police were criticised for reportedly surrounding two women out on a walk five miles from their home.
According to police, their walk wasn’t in the “spirit of lockdown”, despite two people being allowed legally to meet up and exercise together.