Residents in the North East have been praised by police after they stayed indoors for the first weekend of lockdown.
Northumbria Police have today (Monday) thanked their communities after the majority of people adhered to Government advice to stay home and save lives.
Last weekend hundreds of people had flocked to the region’s coastal areas and country parks to exercise and enjoy the fresh air.
But police warned this week that lives could be put at risk if large crowds all flocked to the same locations to do their daily dose of exercise.
Since then, officers across the country have been given powers to fine people who ignore the new legislation, while local councils have closed car parks at key locations.
Police were on patrol at the region’s beauty spots for the first weekend since the new restrictions were put in place.
And today (Monday) they have praised the public for staying at home – after finding the beaches and parks almost completely deserted.
Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton said: “Your once daily exercise may be the only time for you to get out the house and we appreciate how important this time can be.
“However, it was concerning for everyone to see the large crowds of people gathering on our beaches and in some rural locations last weekend despite the warning to stay indoors.
“Since then we have been given new powers by Government but we have always been clear that we will engage and encourage you, with fines being issued only as a last resort.
“After speaking to officers across our region, I am delighted that this approach has been effective and the majority of people have all worked together and supported the strict measures.
“In many ways, it is sad to see our beauty spots deserted but it is necessary and I can’t thank you all enough for staying at home and doing your part to save lives.
“I would ask that you continue to support us and all the other emergency services during these challenging times – together we call all make a difference.”
Further information about the restrictions, including a list of key workers and what is considered essential travel, can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The public should not to contact police to ask about the restrictions, or potential punishments, as they will not be able to provide any further detail than what is available on that website.
Anyone who needs to speak to police is asked to only do this online by searching ‘Northumbria Police – Report an Incident’ or ‘Northumbria Police – Tell Us Something’ online.
Always dial 999 in an emergency.