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West Mercia Police chief urges people to be 'sensible' and 'unselfish'

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | Crime | Published:

The region's senior police officer has urged people to be "sensible, unselfish, to apply common sense" over unnecessary travel, and has warned officers will break up gatherings of more than two people if they have to.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham

West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham made the comments in a statement where he has praised the response of the majority of the public to the current lockdown rules.

He has asked people not to put officers in a position where they have to take action.

"We will be dispersing any gatherings of more than two people if required," said Mr Bangham.

"Please do not put us in this position. Should we have to, then we will take enforcement action to keep people safe if it is absolutely necessary and proportionate. It isn’t our preference, so by working together we can avoid this wherever possible."

He added: "These are unusual and exceptional circumstances. We know that the vast majority of the public across West Mercia are fully supportive of the guidance and using common sense.

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"However, as with all laws, a minority may wish to push the boundaries, seeking to deliberately interpret the guidance and in some cases, the law, to suit their individual circumstances.

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"This will not be helpful and could put officers in a difficult position. The whole purpose of these measures is to reduce the spread of infection.

"We appreciate this is a step away from the normal freedoms we are all used to, but we must all play our part at keeping our communities safe, particularly the most vulnerable and those most at risk.

"It is a time to be sensible, unselfish, to apply common sense and to do the right thing not only for ourselves, but our friends, family, wider communities and indeed the country as a whole."

Sensible

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Mr Bangham said that he wants people to make sensible decisions over exercising to avoid the risk of spreading coronavirus.

He said: "Across West Mercia, we want people to make positive and sensible choices to be responsible citizens; by doing so you are saving lives, protecting the NHS and keeping everyone safe.

"We understand the importance of exercise and fresh air, not only for our physical health but also for good mental health, which is vital in these challenging and anxious times.

"If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or to live in an area where you can walk, run or cycle from your own home, please do so and stay local rather than travel to exercise. Travel really should only be for essential purposes.

"However, we appreciate this is more challenging for many people. If you live in a populated area, where it is difficult to find quieter places to walk and exercise at a distance, then it may well be sensible for you to travel slightly further than your immediate neighbourhood. However, please don’t go to busy places at peak times to exercise. If you go somewhere and it is busy, please use common sense and leave. Go somewhere else or come back at another time.

"We appreciate that not everyone has the benefit of a garden, rural setting or local countryside but please take all sensible steps to minimise travel and maintain social distancing."

The chief constable also offered thanks to those who have been sticking to government guidance.

He said: "I want to thank all of our communities for their help, support and patience. The majority of people have been staying at home, taking sensible steps to ensure they are observing social distancing and demonstrating fantastic community spirit in looking after friends, family and neighbours.

"I want this to continue over the weekend and during the coming weeks so I urge everyone to follow the government advice; stay at home to prevent the spread of infection."

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