Dorset Police have confirmed that between Friday 27 March and Thursday 29 April 2020 they have been forced to issue 255 fixed penalty notices for those refusing to follow the restrictions.
A number of fines were issued to people who were not Dorset residents but were attempting to drive into the area for ‘non-essential travel’ reasons. Dorset Police stopped a group of three people who had travelled from Surrey to ‘look at nature’, an individual who had travelled from Nottingham to visit Lulworth Cove, and a group of four from Slough to walk at Durdle Door.
Dorset Police are working hard to make sure members of the public in Dorset and those attempting to travel here are aware of the lockdown restrictions and understand the importance of enforcing them, working with the public to help support the NHS and save lives.
Chief Constable James Vaghan, said: “Despite the continued reminders of the restrictions, advice about non-essential travel and the rising number of deaths, some people still don’t think the rules apply to them. We are not out of the woods yet and it is imperative that we all stick within the spirit of the guidance and only leave home for essential travel.
“Our officers are continuing with their approach to engage with the public, explain the guidance and encourage people to go home. We will only enforce as a last resort. The fact we have stopped and spoken to thousands of people since these restrictions came into force and only issued 255 fines is testament to our approach.
“However, we will not tolerate people who travel hundreds of miles because they want to see the sea or visit one of our tourist hotspots. The guidance is clear – we should stay at home unless we need to make essential journeys.
“On the whole the vast majority of people are only making essential journeys and are doing what is asked of them – staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives – and I would like to thank them for this. Together we are truly saving lives.”
His comments are supported by Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, who has urged everyone to remember the significance of the current situation: “Dorset Police is continuing to stick to its approach of educating and engaging with the public, only issuing fines as a last resort, and I’ve heard countless examples of the police being praised by members of the public for their action.
“It’s very disappointing that some members of the public have begun to flout the lockdown restrictions, giving the Force no option than to issue more fines, particularly as a significant proportion were issued to people who have tried travelling into Dorset from other parts of the UK.
“It’s vitally important everyone understands our county remains closed until lockdown is lifted, and we all need to continue to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. Now is not the time for people to try pushing back against the restrictions – if you persist, you will get fined.”