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Cleveland Police close in on coronavirus rulebreakers

Police have been challenging coronavirus rulebreakers. Credit: PA

On the first weekend of the coronavirus lockdown Cleveland Police issued 16 fines to people not complying with the rules.

The force is one of many across the country taking action against alleged coronavirus rulebreakers.

Fixed Penalty Notices given in the Cleveland Police force area on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March, were mainly for those members of the public making unnecessary journeys in vehicles.

Under new powers given to the police, those who flout the rules can be fined £60 or £120 for repeat offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.

Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Head of Local Policing said:

Cleveland Police will continue to take an ‘educate and persuade’ approach when using the new policing powers, however, it is important that we enforce fixed penalty notices to the people who are not complying with the rules.

“Restrictions for travelling have been made very clear and people should only be travelling when essential. This includes going to work where it cannot be done from home, shopping for food or medical supplies or helping a relative.

“Our number one priority is to protect the NHS and saves lives and it is important that we all play our part and follow the rules to prevent coronavirus from spreading.”

– Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Head of Local Policing, Cleveland Police

While Cleveland Police has taken the decision to give its communities a daily update on the number of people given fixed notices, our region's other forces, including North Yorkshire Police, Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police have not released the information.

We are really keen to engage with our communities, ensure that they understand why this is important and persuade them to go home. By and large most people will be compliant but those who are insistent on not complying will unfortunately face enforcement action."

– Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Head of Local Policing, Cleveland Police

New powers given to police following the coronavirus lockdown now mean that officers can:

  • ensure parents are doing all they can to stop their children breaking the rules
  • issue a £60 fixed penalty
  • issue a £120 fixed penalty for second-time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
  • Anyone who does not pay can be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines. If they still refuse to comply, police can arrest them.

Under strict measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, people are only allowed to leave the house for specific reasons:

  • Shopping for "basic necessities", as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle – please note: travelling in a vehicle to another location to exercise or walk a dog is NOT classed as essential travel and officers will advise you to do this closer to home.
  • Medical reasons, to provide care, or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only if it is "absolutely necessary" and cannot be done from home

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