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Commissioner thanks police officers for their hard work in enforcing coronavirus lockdown

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has praised the Chief Constable’s approach and his officers and staff after it emerged their force issued more fines for breaching coronavirus regulations than almost any other over the Easter weekend.

From Good Friday to Easter Monday Devon and Cornwall Police carried out over 4,000 targeted high visibility patrols, speaking to 5,500 people, warning 960 of them for failure to follow Covid-19 guidance and issuing 169 £60 fines to those who refused to comply.

The number fined using new regulations brought in by the Government to save lives and protect the NHS is more than most of the 43 forces in England and Wales and around a quarter of those fined were from outside the force area. Among those made to pay the £60 fee and asked to head home was a family from London who had visited the Westcountry on a fishing trip.

Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “Police, staff and volunteers in our force have very sensibly taken the approach that they will educate and inform the public of their obligations, but we always knew there would be a cohort for whom enforcement was the only option.

“We also knew that despite the warnings, and a #ComeBackLater campaign supported by us and our many partners, our part of the country would prove irresistible to many who put their own wants before the needs of some of society’s most vulnerable members and we’d see some attempting to travel to the South West over the Easter weekend.

“The vast majority of the public are making extraordinary sacrifices at the moment in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and I think they want those who put others at risk dealt with using these new powers. Our Chief Constable, frontline officers and staff have my full support, and I believe, the support of the vast majority of our elected leaders, parliamentarians and the public.”