For the second time this year England is under a nationwide lockdown – which came into force at one minute past midnight, after MPs yesterday voted to approve the four-week shutdown.
It means people will no longer be able to mix with others unless they are from their support bubble or household, and will see the closure of pubs, restaurants gyms and non-essential shops.
Those who breach the rules risk fines, and police said patrols will be increased while the public gets used to the new regulations.
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West Mercia Police have also said that they will be working with Dyfed Powys Police on the issue of the English/Welsh border.
Under the rules brought in by Parliament people will not be able to travel across the border unless for work or essential reasons. Welsh residents will see their 'firebreak' restrictions lifted on Monday.
Superintendent Jim Baker said he anticipated overwhelming public cooperation with the new restrictions, as was seen earlier this year.
But, he said those who do not can expect to face fines.
“We understand this is a challenging time for everyone and that the enhanced restrictions will impact on our communities," he said.
"Although the situation is difficult, we know that the vast majority of our residents will adhere to the new regulations, as they did during the earlier national lockdown.
"We would like to thank everyone who is continuing to adhere to the rules and taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.
“We have all had to adjust to the situation and appreciate everyone's support throughout this period however flouting the regulations will not be tolerated.
"Although we try our best to educate and engage with our communities, we will issue fixed penalty notices to those who are disregarding the restrictions.
"We will be increasing police patrols in the coming days where and when appropriate throughout this time of enhanced restrictions while the public adjust to the new rules."
Supt Baker said that they would be 'proportionate' in their handling of the situation regarding the border between England and Wales.
He said: “In terms of the Welsh border, it is understandable that residents may be tempted to visit neighbouring towns. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Welsh forces to police the differing regulations and support the communities most affected. Again, when breaches are identified we will use our powers in a proportionate fashion.”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has also called on the public to follow restrictions in an effort to make sure they are lifted as soon as possible.
He said: “As the communities of West Mercia face the prospect of another period of enhanced restrictions, I urge them to dig deep and protect all of the hard work that they have already done to contain the virus.
"As communities have overwhelmingly done so far, we must continue to observe the restrictions, to ensure that they have the maximum effect, in the fastest possible time.
"We must continue to look out for our neighbours and the most vulnerable in our society and assist those that might need our help. I know that together, our collective action will reduce the pressure on our health service and wider emergency service, ensuring that we stay safe and save lives.
“I am reassured West Mercia Police have well established plans and the resources to continue to support our community through this period. ”
West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham today released a public statement around the force’s response to the national restrictions, following the changes which came into force today.
He said: “The last eight months have been incredibly challenging for everyone. We are extremely grateful that the vast majority of people in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire have been supportive and adapted well during the previous lockdown, which meant we only had to take minimal enforcement action.
“I ask everyone to continue with this approach, following the new rules that are in place for everyone’s safety during this next phase of the pandemic.
“We will continue to be out and about, providing a visible presence and engaging with the public as we all adjust to the new rules.
“We will continue to take a sensible and proportionate approach to the Covid-19 laws with our aim always to ensure public safety. If there are clear breaches, where people choose to put lives at risk by knowingly breaking the law then we will take positive enforcement action – as the public would expect.
“In many areas of our force, we share a border with Wales and we understand that there will be concerns, from both sides of the border, about how the differing rules will be managed, particularly for those who live on the border. I want to be clear that we will not be patrolling the border, however we will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Welsh forces to police the differing regulations and support the most affected communities.
“Please help us prioritise those who are most in need of our help by reporting non-urgent crime, anti-social behaviour and Covid breaches via our website. This keeps the phone lines free for emergency 999 calls. Anyone who needs a police emergency response will get one.
“We know that many are finding this year incredibly difficult and it has been very challenging but we’re asking you to continue doing all you can to keep yourself, your families and those around you safe whilst we get through this together.”
Superintendent Craig Templeton of Dyfed-Powys Police said: "Once the firebreak ends, Dyfed-Powys Police officers will continue to be active in all our communities to ensure people act responsibly to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
"We are working closely with our colleagues in partner forces to educate those living along the border on the regulations relevant to them, and together we hope to encourage people to do the right thing.
"We will not be actively patrolling the border, but officers will remain active along all routes.
"If anyone is unsure of the regulations where they live, or the exemptions around essential travel across the border for purposes such as work, they should visit the UK and Welsh Government websites."