The Chief Constable of Kent Police has repeated the request for the public to continue staying at home over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
While the vast majority of people in Kent have been adhering to the restrictions introduced by the Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a minority have chosen to flout the rules and potentially put others at risk.
Kent Police officers will continue to patrol across the county this weekend, and will use enforcement action against those who refuse to comply. As of Thursday 9 April 2020, a total of nine people have been issued with fines under the Coronavirus Act.
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: ‘It was pleasing to hear that despite the warm weather last weekend, most people listened when we asked them to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. It comes as no surprise to me that the people of Kent would continue to do what is right for the good of the nation, and we must all continue to do as we have been instructed by the Government this Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
‘It is also encouraging to note that my officers have only had to issue nine fines to date, as this shows that my officers are engaging, explaining and encouraging people in the correct way and are being listened to when they ask people to go home. Those who have received fines for refusing to comply need to take a look at themselves in the mirror and consider the potential health implications their actions could have on others. It is unacceptable at a time when thousands of people in the UK have already lost their lives.’
Last month Kent Police launched its Returners Scheme to appeal for former Kent Police officers, staff and volunteers to consider coming back to the force to help ensure the public continues to receive the best possible policing service.
Those interested are encouraged to visit www.kent.police.uk/canyouhelp for details on how to apply.
Mr Pughsley said: ‘We have had a promising response to the Returners Scheme so far and I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces coming back to Kent Police in the near future. However, I am very pleased to report that our sickness absence rate among serving officers and staff is currently at about 7%, which is lower than we would normally expect for this time of year.
‘This is great news and yet another example of how police officers and staff step up to the plate at a time of national emergency in order to prevent and tackle crime, and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.’
Between 24 and 31 March 2020, Kent Police experienced a 46.5% reduction in reported crime, with 2,171 fewer offences being reported than in the same period last year.
Mr Pughsley was keen to stress that officers will not be complacent and are continuing to support those most in need, including victims of domestic abuse.
He said: ‘Since the Covid-19 restrictions came into force we have experienced a 6% increase in reports of domestic abuse, which is of great concern to us.
‘We want victims to know that we are still here to help and are working closely with our partners to ensure they can still access the support they may require. We remain committed to protecting vulnerable people and any victim of crime is encouraged to contact us through our website, by calling 101 or dialling 999 in an emergency.
‘Another crime type we are keeping a close eye on is online child abuse and grooming. I would therefore like to remind parents of the potential dangers that exist on social media, and encourage them to talk to their children and ensure you know who they are talking to.
‘There are unfortunately some criminals who will use the current situation we all find ourselves in to their advantage, but the people of Kent can rest assured that my officers will continue to identify such offenders and ensure they are brought to justice.’