Chief constable, Shaun Sawyer, explains Devon & Cornwall Police’s take on the new guidance:
“In England, there has now been an easing of COVID-related restrictions and amendments have been made to the legislation, following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday night.
“It was always going to be challenging when restrictions began to be relaxed not only for policing but for all agencies and communities. It may take a while for people to understand what the new guidance means and so our engagement and education is key.
“We will adapt to the new terms of the regulations and will positively engage with the public as we have been doing for the past two months.
Police no longer have a role in enforcing social distancing
“The latest amendments means that we have no role in enforcing social distancing, wearing of masks or distance of travel as the Government have made it clear that there are no longer restrictions on how far people can travel to exercise or for open-air recreation.
“There remains a role for the police and our Covid-focus will now turn towards groups of three or more people outside of one household, and public gatherings as these are not lawful under the amended regulations which took effect on 13 May 2020. Where the evidence is clear and as a last resort, officers will use enforcement options that are available to them.
“The police are only responsible for enforcing the law, but our overall aim will continue to be one that sees us engage, educate and encourage people to comply with government guidance.
“My officers do not want to use their enforcement powers but it is right that they are able to take action against those who disregard the remaining restrictions and in doing so put people at risk.
CC Sawyer, added: “I believe the vast majority of the public understand the seriousness of the virus and will continue to do what is required. Personal responsibility is now key and we are continuing to ask the public to ‘Think Twice’ when they leave the house; is it safe and is it fair?
Advice for potential visitors
“My message to those people considering travel into the Force area would be that we would love to welcome you back but ask that you wait just a little longer. Cafés and restaurants remain closed, there is a lack of open facilities and we do not have lifeguards on all our beaches. There has been a national collective effort to protect all communities and we need this national effort to continue for a little bit longer.
For Devon/Cornwall residents
“For residents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, we want you to be able to enjoy the extra independence you have been given in relation to exercise and open air recreation, but we want you to do so safely. It’s important that we all remember that our actions count and can affect others.
“Feedback from within communities across Devon and Cornwall is that they would prefer each other to stay local. It is important individuals undertake appropriate social distancing measures and ensure that they do not gather in groups with people from outside their home; it is important we all think about the impact our actions can have whether that be on our rural, coastal or urban areas.
CC Sawyer said: “Communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have always looked out for each other, but I feel that this connection is now even stronger.
“There has been a societal shift towards one that is showing a greater level of kindness and compassion, and it is this kindness and compassion which will see us through the following weeks and months.
“Fairness will weigh heavily and people will question the actions of others, which is why I will ask you all to ‘Think Twice’ about your own actions.
“We would like to thank our public for their support. We will continue to do our best to work with them and where we do not have the powers to enforce we will maintain our current approach of engage, educate and encourage.
“It is important we remember why we are all being asked to do this, which is to save lives.”