Avon & Somerset Police – COVID patrols
Avon & Somerset Police have set up new dedicated COVID-19 units. This has been paid for by a new government grant to the force.
The units will support patrolling teams and help respond to incidents and reported lock down breaches. From Wednesday 4 to close of play on Thursday 5 November officers attended 41 reports of COVID-19 legislation breaches.
These included incidents in Frome, Glastonbury, Watchet, Wellington, Wells, Yate and Yeovil. Some cases were found not to be breaches of the rules. Most of the rest were dealt with by engaging, explaining and encouraging local people to comply.
In Bridgwater police responded to reports of a group of more than six people who were drunk and abusive towards passers-by on Salmon Parade at about 2.30pm on Thursday. The group was dispersed by 3pm by Police. However two men, one in his 50s and one in his 30s were given fixed penalty notices.
The Government have given Avon and Somerset Police an additional £680,000. This money is specifically to tackle the pandemic and enforce the rules.
The dispersal area included the High Street, Broad Street, Page Road and Page Park. It was brought in following reports of a large group of people smashing bottles, shouting and swearing.
Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Cullen wants to use fixed penalty notices as a last resort “But we won’t tolerate flagrant breaches of the regulations. We will move more swiftly to enforcement because we simply cannot allow the selfish actions of a few to jeopardise the determined efforts our communities have put in over the past seven months.”
The Police are keen to stress that the vast majority of people are sticking to the rules. The number of COVID-19 cases in the South West are not as high as some other parts of the UK. However they are rising and we cannot afford to be complacent.
Meanwhile The Leveller® is aware of multiple rumours that an SSDC councillor was seen breaking the rules last weekend. We approached SSDC for a comment. Their spokesperson told us “We are not aware of the allegations to which you refer and the council has not received a complaint. In the event of a complaint, under law, SSDC is only able to investigate matters that concern the code of conduct (which relates to the conduct of councillors when acting in their capacity as a councillor). Updates to national Covid-19 laws and regulations are regularly communicated to both our staff and councillors.”