POLICE are urging residents to support them in the fight against coronavirus after there was a rise in the number of drivers on the road and public and private gatherings over the weekend – with officers having to shut down a house party in Stroud.
Overall, at least 25 fixed penalty notices were issued across the county on Saturday and Sunday for breaches of the lockdown – although that figure is likely to be higher as officers are still filing the paperwork.
Stroud police were called to break up a house party in Paganhill on Friday evening. Three residents were issued with warning letters for the unlawful gathering.
Police also issued a penalty notice to a van driver who was travelling to Whiteshill to ride a quad bike on Sunday.
The driver told police he was travelling to ‘exercise’ his bike.
Elsewhere in the county, the Cotswold Neighbourhood Policing Team dealt with a number of people who had visited Bibury for day trips from places including Birmingham, Leicester, Enfield and Slough.
Officers issued 16 fines for non-essential travel and others were also advised to return home.
Gloucestershire Constabulary continues to run Operation Stay At Home, which was launched over the Easter bank holiday weekend in a bid to reduce the amount of people using the roads for unnecessary travel.
During the past weekend, approximately 425 vehicles were stopped by officers from the Specialist Operations Team, with the majority of motorists having reasonable excuses to be out. However, a small number needed to be reminded of the government’s social distancing guidelines.
Patrols of the M5 and vehicle stops on the A436 at Severn Springs on Sunday saw 142 vehicles stopped with 11 people receiving warnings, one vehicle being turned around and six fines issued.
Between Monday, April 20 and Sunday, April 26, the Special Constabulary, a team made up of volunteers, contributed 1,500 hours of work which saw them conduct 234 open space visits, disperse 30 groups for meeting in public places and respond to 27 reports of anti-social behaviour, amongst many other duties.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “With the lockdown still in place, my officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the social distancing regulations and encourage those who are out without a reasonable excuse to return home.
“The public have in most cases been complying with government lockdown measures over the past couple of weeks, but it is very sad to hear that another officer was assaulted over the weekend and that we are now receiving more reports of vehicles on the roads and gatherings in public and private spaces.
“I know that lockdown is difficult for everyone, particularly when the weather is so nice. Several weeks in, it is important that we continue to act responsibly and maintain our focus on protecting the NHS and saving lives.”