Police issue over 350 coronavirus-related penalty notices in Northern Ireland

Police issue over 350 coronavirus-related penalty notices in Northern Ireland

Police have issued over 350 coronavirus-related penalty notices in Northern Ireland.

On Friday, ministers provided more legal clarity around the circumstances in which a person can leave the house to exercise, including reasonable travel.

A drive to a safe space or facility will now be permitted.

Taking a long drive to get to a beach, or resort where numbers of people may gather is unlikely to be regarded as reasonable, even for exercise, the ministerial Executive said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) assistant chief constable Alan Todd said: “We said in our statement earlier this week that greater clarity in the regulations would have undoubtedly made our job easier to police this current health crisis.

“Therefore we welcome today’s announcement and the clarity that the change to the regulations and any associated guidance will bring to the public and police officers alike.

The objective of the police service during this period has always been and remains to help our health service colleagues slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

“We will continue to engage with people and explain what we need them to do and encourage them to follow the restrictions that are in place. Enforcement is always a last resort.”

Since the end of March, 358 penalty notices have been issued.

A further 570 community resolution notices were given out.

Mr Todd added: “The vast majority of people spoken to by police officers have cooperated well and a relatively small number of penalty notices have been issued to date.

“We have over the last two days implemented additional quality assurance measures in respect of police enforcement of these restrictions and these measures will continue until any new guidance is issued, implemented and bedded in.”

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