POLICE have warned the public across Ayrshire to continue to stay indoors this Easter weekend.

Despite, the weather becoming milder, people have been strongly advised to continue to follow regulations on social distancing, to protect the NHS and save lives during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ayrshire’s police chief, Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain has praised the “overwhelming number” of residents who have abided by lockdown rules.

Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain said: “Ayrshire has some wonderful destinations including parks, beaches and the islands of Arran and Millport.

“If you are thinking of traveling to any of these over the Easter weekend, my message to you right now is, please do not come.

“Whilst coronavirus is with us, it is essential that you listen to the advice, to stay at home and to help us keep you and your loved ones safe.”

It comes after officers had to issue 18 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) across North, East and South Ayrshire. According to Chief Superintendent Hussain, they did so as a last resort and after repeated attempts by individuals to defy the government’s guidance on social distancing.

The Ayrshire Divisional Commander issued a message to residents, to inform them of how the police are tackling the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the overwhelming number of Ayrshire’s residents for following the new regulations on social distancing, designed to save lives and protect the NHS during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“Police Scotland has been carrying out significant work with our partners to ensure we are prepared for the days and weeks ahead.

“The National Co-ordination Centre is fully operational, supporting multi-agency arrangements and identifying resources to support and strengthen local policing.

“Having a single force to respond to a national emergency means we can make decisions very quickly.

“We can quickly move people to where they are needed to respond to any given situation and also to address gaps opening up elsewhere due to illness or extra demands of local circumstances.

“We are co-ordinating support for those most vulnerable in our communities through close collaboration with North, East and South Ayrshire Councils and NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

“Police officers and staff across Ayrshire are exemplary professionals displaying enormous resilience as they support the vital work of health and care professionals.

“We are making sure that our colleagues are maximising the lifelines of support available so that we can continue to provide our communities with the best possible service over this critical period.

“An example of that support includes access to childcare for key workers and I would personally like to thank Ayrshire’s local authorities for making this possible.

“Over the coming weeks and months, there is no denying that the demand on us all will only increase, but I can assure you that we will continue to deal appropriately and robustly with those who break the law.

“If someone reports a crime it will still be dealt with but perhaps in a different way as we increasingly prioritise our demand to reflect the exceptional needs of this pandemic.

“For example, if you are reporting a minor crime you may find it’s dealt with by officers on the phone, however we will always aim – where at all possible – to find ways to assist those who are particularly vulnerable.

“The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 give officers the power to enforce social distancing among the wider public, with the sanction of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) where there has been an offence.

“There have been very few occasions where officers have had to issue FPNs. Indeed, they only did so as a last resort and after individuals persistently flouted the regulations or refused to comply with requests to abide by them.

“Due to the exceptional nature of these powers, the regulations will be reviewed at least every 21 days to ensure that they are still needed.”


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