Police across Sussex will focus on their core role of preventing and detecting crime and protecting the most vulnerable, as people enjoy new freedom to spend more time outside.
Changes were made by the Government earlier this week to moderate stringent lockdown rules, in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
People can now spend as much time outside as they wish for activities and can travel for activity as long as they do not stay overnight.
Some rules remain in place however, for example to prevent large gatherings or people travelling for holiday purposes or to stay in second homes.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller said: “The policing role in Sussex has never changed.
“We are here to prevent, investigate and detect crime and to keep people safe, and this is evidenced in the on-going efforts of police officers and staff to proactively tackle crime, take criminals off the streets and provide support to victims that need our help.
“The policing role has never been to enforce social distancing – that is a matter of personal responsibility, and we have been encouraged by the vast majority of people adhering to this.
“In this new phase, the police will support partner agencies to deter and deal with clear breaches of the new rules, such as people gathering in groups, but very much with our existing approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging first and using enforcement as a last resort.
“We are all in this together, we want to prevent a second spike in the infection, and so, above all, we urge people to follow the new guidance for their own benefit and to prevent harm to others.”
Figures released today (Friday 15 May) showed that 655 fines were issued to people who breached the lockdown rules between 27 March to 11 May inclusive.
Of these, 297 fines were issued in the past two weeks – the vast majority of which were over the hot early May bank holiday weekend, when Sussex saw an influx of visitors from outside the county which was, at that time, against government regulations.
Officers and PCSOs will continue to patrol in local communities and hot spot areas on the coast and at local beauty spots, as well as identifying and enforcing criminal activity on the roads network.
Sussex Police has seen an increase in reports of criminal activity from the public and encourages people to report suspicious or unusual behaviour.
While we are not seeing a rise in domestic abuse reports to us, we are receiving more calls to domestic incidents such as arguing. We continue to work with support services to ensure that we are able to respond and support people if they call and need help. Those people subject to violence or coercion behind closed doors, children vulnerable to online abuse; people vulnerable to exploitation should be in no doubt – we continue to be there for you.
Contact us and we will be there.
For information on how to report a breach of the regulations, see here.
For the latest government guidance on coronavirus, see here.
If you want advice please go to Safe Space for a list of organisations that have services that can help you.