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Gloucestershire Business News

Police message as Covid cases increase: “Don’t throw it all away”

Gloucestershire's Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner have made a joint appeal to the public not to flaunt the Government's social distancing rules, amid fears of a further surge in Covid cases.

Tensions may be rising in other parts of the country, but the number of recorded cases means Gloucestershire is still in the category of medium risk, the lowest possible.

So while impatience appears to be growing, particularly in some northern areas, Chief Constable Rod Hansen told PCC Martin Surl it was important people in Gloucestershire avoid the temptation to disregard the rule of six and other current regulations.

The appeal was made in the latest webcast, in which the PCC put coronavirus-related questions to the county's senior police officer, and comes at a time when a tougher approach to policing the pandemic could be on the way.

View the webcast in full at: https://www.gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk/dont-throw-it-all-away-is-police-message-as-covid-cases-increase/ 

Gloucestershire Constabulary has received over £200,000 as its share of a £60m handout from the government, signalling a tougher approach towards enforcement.

Mr Hansen said: "With Christmas and the likelihood of an increase in winter flu adding to pressures on public services and society in general, it is important that we continue to play our part in preventing the spread of the virus.

"So far the compliance rate around the county has been very high and we can be proud of that. But we are seeing a rise not only in the infection rate, but also a slight change in some behaviour with the rule of six.

"Of course, the emphasis will be first on the three Es (engage, explain, encourage), but people now know the rules and where there are flagrant breeches we will move to enforcement sooner.

"So my message to our communities is: don't be tempted to gather in large groups in contravening the rules, however tempting. Fines are likely to follow if you do. Please continue to be responsible, keep to the rules and keep safe."

The two men who run Gloucestershire police hold weekly meetings in which Mr Surl acts as a voice for the public - posing questions on operational policing matters and impartially holding the Chief Constable to account for the actions of the police in Gloucestershire.

Mr Surl said: "I have been very impressed by the way the constabulary has carried out its duties during these very difficult times, but my concern is that tougher action will bring less, not more, compliance and the police may lose public support if they overreact.

"It's understandable the government should want a return on its investment, but I wanted a reassurance from the Chief Constable that the response would continue to be fair-minded and proportionate."

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