Northants Police issue spot fines for breaches

view of lockdown measures on 10 May, the government’s message changed from “Stay Home” to “Stay Alert”, with relaxed restrictions on how people could practice social distancing. The rules remain enforceable by law.

In Northamptonshire, the police issued 349 people with fines for breaking lockdown rules up to 14 May. Incidents that incurred fines included four individuals not from the same household holding a party; owners of a barber shop that had opened up to give people haircuts; owners of a trampoline park that had opened up and were allowing people to use the equipment inside.

Superintendent Elliot Foskett, said: “We are very lucky in Northamptonshire to have a public who, in the main, want to work with us, and realise how important social distancing is. Our approach will always be to engage with and educate our communities first, with enforcement and fines given as a last resort.”

The law says that nobody can be outside their homes without a reasonable excuse. What is a reasonable excuse can vary depending on the exact situation. But it is likely to be reasonable to go out for food, tools and supplies to fix something; exercise, and tending an allotment; any medical reason; escaping an abusive or other dangerous situation at home; work, if you cannot work from home; taking children to school or childcare; moving house, if you cannot delay your move.

The relaxed measures allow people to go to parks and other public spaces, including sunbathing and picnicking; drive any distance for exercise or leisure; spend time outdoors with one other person not from the same household.

Public gatherings of more than two people who don’t live together are banned. Exceptions include funerals attended by immediate family members or people working together who cannot work from home.

Shops selling food, drink, medicines and other supplies are allowed to stay open. Cafes, restaurants and pubs are only allowed to open for takeaway food and drink.

The Special Constabulary at Northamptonshire Police have volunteered a huge total of 7,800 hours to COVID-19 patrols since the pandemic’s lockdown was imposed to help patrol areas and enforce lockdown measures.

When responding to Covid-19 breaches, the police aim to first “engage, explain and encourage” violators to change their behaviour to reduce the risk to public safety and health.

If people still do not follow the rules the police will enforce the measures including issuing spot fines of £100 for the first offence.

May 2020