People are being reminded that lockdown restrictions will largely remain in place over the coming weeks, ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement later this evening

Tonight Boris Johnson will give the nation an update on his plan for slowly lifting restrictions over the next few months – but is expected to reiterate the message that we need to continue to limit social interactions to keep the virus under control.

Over the past week Wiltshire Police has issued 45 fines to people breaching the Covid-19 restrictions, with officers called to three separate house parties in Swindon yesterday (21/02).

The latest figures show that between 15/02 and 21/02 Wiltshire Police:

• Issued 45 fixed penalty notices. This brings the overall total to 623 (this will include FPNs issued retrospectively).
• Issued 78 formal warnings to people for failing to adhere to the Government rules.
• Recorded 298 reports from members of the public, either via the phone or using our online reporting tool.
• Recorded seven Covid-related crimes and 23 Covid-related incidents.

A large proportion of the fines were for people gathering indoors for parties, including a total of 25 FPNs issued to people at three separate house parties in Swindon over the weekend.

The first was in the early hours of Sunday morning (21/02) when we were called to an address in Barnum Court, Rodbourne.

Officers attended and found a party ongoing, so nine people, all aged between 24 and 55, were given £200 fines.

A short while later we attended a property in Yersin Court, Old Town, and found a group of people drinking together and playing loud music. A total of nine people, all aged between 21 and 44, were all given £200 fines.

The third was yesterday afternoon when we were called to a barbecue at a house in Hughes Street, Rodbourne, and seven people, aged between 30 and 43, were given £200 fines.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said whilst Prime Minister has set out a cautious “roadmap” out of lockdown and this is good news for all our communities, it is however very important we all still need to comply with the rules.

He said: “The Government have made it clear that there will be no quick exit from lockdown and that many of the restrictions will remain in place for the coming months.

“Therefore it is important that we all continue to remain cautious, do not become complacent and play our part in keeping our communities safe.

“I know the news of further house parties held over the weekend will be incredibly frustrating for the vast majority of people adhering to the rules, who are missing their friends and family.

“But please be reassured that on behalf of communities, we will not tolerating these blatant breaches and will quickly move to enforcement in these incidences where people selfishly believe the law does not apply to them.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson added: “The news from the Government seems to be positive, with the vaccine roll-out progressing well, allowing them to start planning for an eventual return to normal life.

“Whilst we anticipate that tonight’s announcement will show some light at the end of the tunnel, we cannot be complacent and we must all continue to do our bit to keep the virus under control. 

“I would urge all residents not to pre-empt the announcements before they are confirmed by the Prime Minister.

“We know that many restrictions will continue to last throughout the spring, and potentially into the summer, so please continue to adhere to the rules to help keep us all safe.”