WEST Midlands Police’s chief has said officers will enforce the government’s latest strict UK lockdown measures if necessary.
Last night Boris Johnson announced a ban on public gatherings of more than two people, with the closure of non-essential shops, playgrounds, libraries and more.
The PM said police will have the powers to enforce them through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson reported the police is already receiving calls on ‘potential breaches’.
He said people can inform police of large-scale breaches, including large numbers of people congregating, via webchat or 101 and assured that the “most problematic behaviour” would be targeted.
In a statement issued today (Tuesday March 24) the police chief said: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday introduced significant social restrictions, which touch on everyone’s lives across the West Midlands.
“These are unprecedented in peacetime and I know will be hard on you and your families.
“I want to assure you that my officers and staff will continue to work every hour of every day to keep you safe. We will protect you.
“That is our duty and that is my promise to you.
“But this is my ask of you. I urge the people of the West Midlands to follow the new instructions. They are essential and it will save lives.
“Nothing is more important.
“Officers and PCSOs will be visible in our communities and I have asked them all to engage positively but safely with anyone we suspect is in breach of the new regulations. Officers will explain what the new restrictions are and what we expect of everyone.
“If we have to talk to you we will:
• Make it clear we are dealing with a national health emergency
• Reinforce the importance of complying with these new measures
• Strongly encourage people to adhere to them at all times
• Reinforce that the measures are there to protect our country and in particular the vulnerable
• Ask that you do not buy more food than you need. We need to look after each other.
“If people do not listen to our advice then we will move to enforcement.
“We are already receiving many calls on potential breaches of these arrangements. People can advise us if there are large scale breaches with large numbers of people congregating via webchat or 101. We would ask you to trust that we will target the most problematic behaviour.
“This will only work if people make sensible choices and observe what they are being told.
“You can keep in touch with West Midlands Police by following @WMPolice on Twitter, on Facebook as well as signing up for community messaging where you live via WMNow.
“The country is facing a challenging period when helping each other and being good neighbours and friends has never been so vital.
“As Chief Constable I know our communities will rise to the challenge and we will all work together to prevent the spread of the virus.”