Devon and Cornwall Police plans for busy summer as lockdown begins to ease

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police will use enforcement action "if necessary".

Devon and Cornwall police is putting plans in place to deal with another busy summer, as uncertainty grows about the possibility of foreign travel this year.

The force told ITV West Country the region is expected to see more visitors, especially when restrictions on domestic holidays are lifted.

According to Boris Johnson's roadmap, people in England could be allowed to holiday within the UK from 12 April - if the Government's conditions for beating Covid are met.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said: "I'm working on the basis that things will get busier as we move into the summer, particularly after the lifting of restrictions on holiday accommodation.

"I think we can anticipate it being busy. Also with the current uncertainty about foreign travel, I have every expectation of a busy summer, but we're putting in place plans to deal with that."

From today, Monday 29 March, outdoor sports facilities can re-open. Credit: PA

Today (Monday 29 March), the 'Stay At Home' message in England has been scrapped and replaced with 'Stay Local'.

The country reaches Step One in the roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown and thousands of people will be allowed to enjoy greater freedoms.

You are now allowed to meet in groups of up to six people outdoors. All six can come from separate households.

Two households of up to 10 people are also allowed to meet outside.

There is no distinct guidance on how far one can travel within England, however people are being encouraged to stay local for the time being.

TACC Parker said officers in Devon and Cornwall will be "particularly focused on the issue of large gatherings and gatherings outside."

He added: "Although we'll take the approach of engaging with people, we'll have no hesitation in enforcing if necessary."

When previous Covid-19 lockdowns have been lifted, the West Country has seen an influx of tourists heading to the coast.

Last year the force said it was facing "unprecedented" demand from the number of people visiting the holiday hotspot.

Incidents of antisocial behaviour forced officers to warn tourists they must "respect the region".

Police also criticised inconsiderate parking in popular areas like Dartmoor and Woolacombe, which they claimed was stopping ambulances reaching emergencies.

"For those making plans to meet, please make sure you adhere to the rule of six, stay local but also think about the legacy you may leave; respect our wonderful beauty spots and take your rubbish with you," added TACC Parker.

"I would also ask you to be aware of the dangers that our coastline can pose in terms of swimming and surfing in the sea.

"We all want the pandemic to be over, and the only way for us to do this is to contain the virus, wear a face covering, stay local, and to keep practicing social distancing.

"Everyone has a social responsibility play their part to prevent the virus spreading and to see us make it to Step Two of the Roadmap on April 12.

"Play your part and behave in a way that respects our communities and that will keep yourself and others safe.”

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