Image Credit: Aaron Bradley
According to BBC News, local police in York have identified a ‘shocking’ number of regulatory breaches during visits to licensed premises in York over the weekend. Despite their initial aim to ensure the safety of local residents by monitoring their adherence to regulations, it soon became clear that perhaps a more pressing issue was the number of visitors from tier 3 areas. Superintendent Mike Walker, lead coordinator of the North Yorkshire Police response to Covid-19, has identified these visitors as responsible for the ‘vast majority’ of tickets.
Not only were the tier 3 visitors clearly flouting the government advice to ‘stay local and avoid travelling outside your local area’, but many were found to be in multiple household groups. Mixing with multiple households indoors is a clear breach of the government’s advice for tier 3 residents to keep socialisation within their households. Although some groups dispersed when approached by police officers, enforcement action was necessary for those who were resistant to police advice.
Superintendent Walker insists that North Yorkshire Police have been ‘very clear about [their] approach’, with the weekend’s events demonstrating ‘evidence’ of this. He justifies the use of ‘enforcement powers’ by claiming that it has been stated that police would be ‘patrolling, speaking to the public and encouraging them to adhere to the rules’, with misconduct therefore not tolerated.
Walker warns potential rule breakers that visitors without a ‘justifiable reason to have made [their] journey’ will be stopped and ‘asked about the reason for [their] visit’. He underlines the ‘extra patrols’ and increased police questioning as part of the North Yorkshire Police’s ultimate aim to ‘stop the spread’ of the virus and ‘save lives’.
Denise Craghill, executive member for safer communities of City of York Council, continued this sentiment of protection and safety. Although she urges people to ‘enjoy York safely and in line with Government rules’, she also reminds those in tier 3 areas not to ‘put loved ones at risk’ or ‘undo the city’s hard work’ by breaking restrictions.