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Norfolk Police Federation

Norfolk federation Chairman Andy Symonds reacts to the latest Government announcements of Covid-19

12 May 2020

“My question to the Government is how on earth do you expect us to get to the point where we have to enforce these new rules?”

That is the view of Norfolk Police Federation Chair Andy Symonds. Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk this morning and BBC Radio 5 Live last night, he said that as it currently stands police have no more guidance than the public and this was proving new rules to be unenforceable. He said  

“We had this when the first phase of lockdown rules came in where we were waiting weeks for actual guidance from outside and within the police on how things should be interpreted, and we are in this difficulty again waiting for more guidance to come along.

“These new rules will become unenforceable as they will allow anybody suspected of flouting the rules to claim they are out of the house lawfully.

“My question to the Government is how on earth do you expect us to get to the point where we have to enforce these new rules?”

Andy said that police officers in Norfolk had already seen visitors flocking to beauty spots in the county last weekend, claiming that they thought the lockdown had already been relaxed. He continued:  

“In the past week or so we have already seen lots of people travelling, hundreds of people, to significant beauty spots in Norfolk and when asked we’re already saying “we thought we were allowed”. I do fear that we are going to have even more people flock here to the nice places we have in Norfolk now that rules are more relaxed, and we are leaving police officers in a situation which is virtually impossible to police, and this on top of the normal day to day policing that we continue to do.

“We will continue to encourage and explain, and enforce will be the last resort, for example when there are large parties and there is a clear breach.

“I think the police need to take a step back, this is a public health concern and it always has been.I think it’s now down to the public and we’ll  be in the background if people lose a bit of that common sense that the Prime Minister has been quoting.

“It’s a difficult one because we are sometimes seen as the baddies in all of th is and we are stuck in the middle. Sayings such as “Stay at home as much as possible” and “work from home if you can” what do these actually mean? And its left up to police officers to interpret them. And then we’ll have some accuse us of being heavy handed and some accuse us of not doing enough.

“This is why I’m calling on Government to give us this guidance and some strong examples of what can and can’t be done.”

BBC Radio Norfolk - Listen again to Andy here, from around 2hrs 8 minutes in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08bs3vk

BBC Radio 5 Live - Listen again to Andy here, from around 46:20 minutes in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000j0vr