Police in Shropshire promise 'strict enforcement' of new Covid rules

There will be "strict enforcement" for people in Shropshire who ignore new coronavirus regulations, according to the county's chief constable.

In a statement following the Prime Minister's decision to tighten restrictions, West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said there would be a "visible and strong police presence" to enforce regulations.

It came as Boris Johnson revealed he could use the army to help free up police to enforce the rules.

Chief Constable Bangham said the rising infection rates meant there needed to be a change in approach.

He said: "The new restrictions outlined in law by the Government, are designed to limit the spread of the infection, save lives and hopefully prevent the need for further and more significant regulations in the future.

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“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic West Mercia Police has engaged with communities, keeping enforcement action to a minimum wherever possible, and the majority of people have behaved sensibly and responsibly.

“However, increasing infection rates demonstrate that there are people who are choosing to break the law and they are putting people at risk as a direct result of their actions.

“Therefore, I want to make clear that anyone who chooses to ignore the regulations and restrictions can expect strict enforcement from West Mercia Police and to be given a fine."

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Chief Constable Bangham asked the public to support the force's efforts, and said people could expect to see more officers in areas with rising cases.

He said: “The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence. Fines can reach up to £10,000 for both businesses that breach regulations or those who organise illegal social gatherings.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners and local businesses to implement the new restrictions, and there will be a visible and strong police presence to help enforce the regulations where appropriate, and provide reassurance to the public – particularly in areas of rising concern.

“Please work with us, your local authorities, neighbours and wider communities over the coming months. Follow the regulations and help to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and save lives."

It comes as West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion also said the new rules would be robustly enforced.

Mr Campion said: “It is important that we, as a community, recognise that we have come this far and achieved so much by making the right choices. By doing this, we have succeeded in saving lives and reducing the pressure on our emergency services.

“We have heard clearly from the chief constable that the new restrictions will be robustly enforced by the police.

"This is a necessary step if we are to prevent unnecessary deaths and wider restrictions on our daily lives. I am urging communities to continue doing the right thing by taking personal responsibility to keep the pressure off the NHS and our emergency services. By continuing to support each other, and staying steadfast in our resolve, we will beat this virus together.”

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