Easter weekend proved to be the busiest on record for Bedfordshire Police, as the force encouraged people to comply with the Covid-19 lockdown alongside everyday policing.
The force logged a total of 2,555 incidents across all four days of the bank holiday weekend, including 712 on Saturday and 714 on Sunday.
The Sunday figure broke a 22-year record for the highest number of incidents recorded in a single day in the county.
Between 36% and 42% of the logged incidents on each day were linked to breaches of the regulations on coronavirus.
Bedfordshire Police has now issued a total of 63 fixed penalty notices for breaches of these rules, the majority of which related to people breaking the restrictions on movement.
This total is throughout Bedfordshire and not just in Bedford Borough.
48 penalty notices were issued over the Easter weekend, including for people having parties as well as larger gatherings in parks and town centres.
Alongside engaging people to comply with the guidance, officers also responded to a number of other offences such as domestic abuse and theft, as well as making a number of significant arrests around drug dealing.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said, “This was an incredibly challenging weekend for our officers and staff, all of whom put in an unbelievable amount of hard work and served the public extremely well.
“The vast majority of people are still following the guidance to stay at home, limiting the spread of this virus and undoubtedly saving lives.
“We cannot thank those people enough for what they are doing, and would much rather everybody did the same.
“Our officers are still carrying out a huge amount of day-to-day police work to protect people and our communities from harm, on top of ensuring people are following the lockdown guidance.
“This weekend shows that we are willing to take a tougher stance where needed to enforce these regulations, which are in place to save lives and keep our communities safe.
“As a result, a proportionate number of penalties were issued, but on the whole best practice was adhered to and the vast majority of the public stuck to the government guidance.”
Government guidelines state that you should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
More information is available on the Government’s dedicated coronavirus website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Those wishing to report breaches of activity can do so via the force’s online reporting centre – the public are urged not to contact the police 101 number for this matter due to increased demand.
The pubic is urged to only report where absolutely necessary, to allow police resources to be prioritised on attending victims of crime and those at most risk of harm.
If anyone is concerned that they may have Covid-19 symptoms, they should not visit a health setting. Instead they should use the NHS 111 online service in the first instance to check out their symptoms and get advice and information about what to do next.