Devon & Cornwall Police has recorded more than 2,000 COVID engagements with the public during the period of National Tier 4 restrictions.
The figures, recorded between November 5 and December 1, show 2,001 engagements with the public, 1,230 COVID related calls to the police and a total of 172 Fixed Penalty Notices issued for breaches of COVID legislation.
Of the notices issued, 95 related to indoor gatherings in breach of restrictions, with 563 of all COVID related calls to reports of illegal gatherings.
As the Devon and Cornwall area now moves to a split of Tier 1 and Tier 2 restrictions, the plea from police and partner agencies is to show respect to your community and continue to play your part in keeping yourself and others safe.
Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew said: “The last month has been tough for all of our communities and for our own staff.
“The vast majority of our communities have remained compliant and continue to respect the regulations which are there for everyone’s safety.
“Police engagement with our public in the last month has shown us our community value the visibility and reassurance of proactive police engagement concerning COVID-19.
“Of the 2,000 engagements recorded outside of enforcement, 57 per cent of those were proactively generated by officers and PCSOs – ensuring there is a conversation with communities as opposed to immediately issuing enforcement.
“While we have issued a number of Fixed Penalty Notices when reasonable and proportionate, in most cases the advice, guidance and encouragement given to the public has been enough to ensure the safety of all.”
Devon & Cornwall Police is one of only two forces in England which has seen a split of Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas from Wednesday, December 2.
Dedicated COVID cars will be on patrol throughout the force area through December continuing to build on 4Es engagement, (encouragement, education and engagement with enforcement as a final option).
The role of the COVID cars is to provide public reassurance and visibility, while working closely with partner agencies.
Assistant Chief Constable Mayhew added: “While policing across two tiers is a challenge, our 4Es approach does not change.
“We do not want people to fear the tiers, it is a case of everyone having a responsibility to understand the changes to legislation and the role they personally play in preventing spread of COVID-19.
“The new legislation is clear that anyone from a Tier 2 area coming to a Tier 1 area such as Cornwall must abide by those restrictions of the higher tier. That doesn’t mean issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone travelling to Cornwall from higher tiered areas.
“What it does mean is respecting communities and continuing vigilance around hygiene and basic measures to prevent COVID-19 spread.”
Assistant Chief Constable Mayhew said: “With Christmas almost upon us and the period of reduced restrictions for December 23 to December 27 already announced, this period gives everyone the chance to further comply with regulations and ensure all the communities of Devon and Cornwall remain with lower numbers of COVID-19 transmission.
“We want all of the force area to feel safe and be safe – so play your part and respect the legislation.
“This is now, not forever, with your compliance we are likely to see restrictions reduced more quickly and a safe return to normality for all of us.”