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Surrey Police praises community for "staying at home" this Easter weekend

4 minute read
Surrey Police praises community for "staying at home" this Easter weekend

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 7:33am 14th April 2020. (Updated at 8:28am 14th April 2020)

The number of crimes reported to Surrey Police over the Easter weekend remained low - with the force saying it is down to people following the government's advice to stay at home.

It issued nearly 90 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) over the four day long weekend - which it says represents "a tiny proportion" of the number of times it interacted with the community.

Some examples where police had to intervene included breaking up a group of 30 people in Walton-on-Thames, using a drone, on Good Friday (10 April).

The force said "this method of communicating without physically putting officers at additional risk by approaching them was effective and the group left without officers having to take further action." 

The drone, which has been used since the introduction of the new coronavirus legislation, plays a pre-recorded message informing people they are breaching government guidelines and ordering them to leave.

Officers were also called to reports on Friday involving cyclists ignoring road closures and social distancing restrictions in Box Hill.

And they responded to reports of motorcyclists and cyclists on the A24.

Police say most of the FPNs were issued to people who do not live in Surrey.

One group, from Chiswick in London, said they were "just being cheeky" when asked why they had made the unnecessary journey.

In total, officers across Surrey and Sussex carried out 49 stop checks - 25 on Friday, 12 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Most involved advice being given on social distancing.

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said he wants to thank the people of Surrey:

"Once again, I'm so thankful for the amazing community spirit across Surrey.

"As social distancing becomes more routine for the public I'd like to thank the vast majority of local people for observing the government advice and staying home to save lives this weekend.
"There have been hot spots where we have needed to take action, such as in Walton-on-Thames and at Box Hill, but these have been dealt with quickly and effectively by our officers engaging with those involved.
"I'd also like to thank those people who have been reporting potential breaches of the government legislation to us via our website.

"Each report is reviewed, triaged and prioritised for response." 

He also said Surrey Police would continue to prioritise vulnerable groups during the current restrictions - and he mentioned attacks on key workers:

"It has become apparent that there are certain crime groups of particular concern during the isolation period.

"These include domestic abuse, fraud and child exploitation.

"Surrey Police continues to hold these as a top priority and encourages victims of crime to report to us.

"We have also been made aware of incidents of key workers including police officers, paramedics, shop workers and security guards being threatened or abused whilst carrying out their essential work.

"This will not be tolerated and action will be taken against those guilty of doing this." 

And he reiterated the force's appeal for people to abide by the restrictions:

"Finally I'd ask people to keep up their fantastic effort and to not become complacent about slowing the spread of Covid-19.

"Please stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives".