WARWICKSHIRE Police says it is working closely with the government on how to enforce the coronavirus lockdown.
It follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on the curbing of outings and socialising between more than one household.
The measures include a limit on public gatherings of no more than two people not living together, commuting to work only where absolutely necessary, outings once a day for exercise, and otherwise leaving the house for essential shopping and medical care needs only.
Ch Con Martin Jelley said: “The force fully supports these latest measures the government has announced.
“Everyone must now take responsibility. Their actions can make a real difference to slowing the spread of this disease and protecting our vital NHS services. It is simple – staying at home will save lives. The lives saved may be those of your own friends and relatives.
“I know that there is now much talk around how the police will enforce these new measures. We are working closely with the government and other agencies to consider these issues.
“But the first step is for everyone to follow the instructions. They have been introduced to protect you, your families and communities. Think about your actions, do not do anything that will make it more difficult for my officers to do their work to protect the public at this challenging time.
“Where we do come across people believed to be in breach of the measures, our first actions will always be to explain the measures and the importance of following them during this national health emergency as we seek to persuade people to do the right thing.”
The announcement followed concerns from Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch which claimed large groups were ignoring the advice, including parties being held in front gardens.
A spokesperson said: “Whilst we understand that young people will be heavily impacted by the school closures and the closure of other facilities, gatherings risk spreading Covid-19 between them. Many people of this age may be carriers and can spread the virus without having any symptoms. This can then in turn be spread to their families and others, resulting in more serious infections.
“The local communities are already under strain. Anti-social behaviour at this time will have an even bigger impact than it does under normal circumstances. It will also take up valuable police resource dealing with it.”
The chief constable added while the force needed support from the public, people should also think carefully before contacting police.
He said: “ I would urge people only to call us if they absolutely have to and think carefully about what their need is. We encourage people to contact us via our online channels where it is not an emergency situation, and please do not attend a station unless absolutely necessary.
“I can’t say it strongly enough – everyone has a part to play at this unprecedented time and I urge everyone in Warwickshire to follow the national guidance to stay at home to save lives.”