‘Thank you’ is Sussex Police’s message to the public after the four-day Easter weekend as our communities overwhelmingly followed the government’s Covid-19 advice.
While the vast majority of local residents followed government advice and stayed at home, officers had to issue more than 100 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) across the county from Friday (April 10) to Sunday (April 12), with over half of these being issued in Brighton.
A significant proportion of the FPNs were issued to people travelling from outside of the county on day trips. On Easter Sunday (April 12), all of the FPNs issued in Brighton and Hove Division were to people who live outside of Sussex.
Four fines were issued to people in breach of Covid-19 restrictions in Camber – a couple from St Albans who made the 150-mile round trip to come and walk on the beach, a man from Bexley who admitted to riding around the south east on his motorbike, and a man from Mordon who drove to the beach for a walk with his children.
Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said: “Once again, I’m so thankful for the amazing community spirit across Sussex. Local people are listening and doing the right thing by staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
“Police officers and PCSOs out and about across the county report people, for the most part, complying with the guidance and engaging with them positively, showing support for their efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Unfortunately, a small number of people from outside of the county deemed it appropriate to visit the area, and these people were engaged with, explained to and encouraged to go home, with enforcement being a last – but necessary – resort in some cases.
“The number of FPNs we issued represents a tiny proportion of the thousands of interactions with the public over the weekend.
“We are incredibly grateful to our local communities. We appreciate their patience, resilience and respect and ask them to simply continue in that same manner.”
Many people are now reporting potential or perceived breaches to the police and each report is reviewed, triaged and prioritised for response. The number of crimes reported to Sussex Police over the four-day Easter weekend remained low as many people stayed indoors.
A small minority of people continued to breach the restrictions and the law, with the force seeing an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour connected to Covid-19 and a few instances of officers, security guards, shop staff and other keyworkers being threatened.
Sussex Police will continue the current approach of engaging with members of the public in the first instance, explaining the importance of following the government advice and encouraging them to make the right choice.
Enforcement remains a tactic where people refuse to comply or deliberately breach the guidelines.