Coronavirus rule breakers will face fines, warns Thames Valley Covid policing chief

  • Chief Superintendent Rob France explains his officers' approach to covid policing

People breaking coronavirus related rules will face fines, Thames Valley Police's top officer for the pandemic has revealed.

Chief Superintendent Rob France, Gold commander for the Thames Valley force's Covid19 response, said: "It cannot be right that the small number of people deliberately flouting the rules should be able to do so without consequence."

But he added that he was "hugely grateful" the vast majority of residents who are following the guidelines.

His comments come as data reveals Thames Valley Police has issued more than 800 fines in relation to coronavirus since the pandemic began in March.

Chief Superintendent Rob France said it was "clear" that cases are continuing to rise and that "action needs to be taken by us all to stop this indiscriminate virus from spreading and leading to the deaths of many more people."

“The whole of the Thames Valley area currently sits within the “medium” tier of the government’s new restriction system," he said.

"I know that the majority of people are aware of the rules and are following them and for this we are hugely grateful."

The Gold commander explained the force's approach "has been to support the public in following the regulations by engaging, explaining and encouraging" before escalating to fines or other measures.

But he added that the force would "move more quickly to enforcement", including fines, dispersals and arrests, in places where the rules are not being followed.

“It cannot be right that the small number of people deliberately flouting the rules should be able to do so without consequence”.

Thames Valley Police covers the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Thames Valley Police says it has been increasing foot patrols were transmission of the virus is higher, working with local authorities and local businesses to make sure that rules are being followed.

The force said it would continue to prioritise its response to coronavirus where cases were higher, but this would be balanced with its other duty to protect the public from crime.

It said that people with concerns about Covid19 regulation breaches should ring 101 to speak to police.