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‘Too many breaches of health order’ say Norwich police, amid barbecues and sunbathing

PUBLISHED: 13:04 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:30 09 April 2020

Norwich police say they were called to

Norwich police say they were called to "too many breaches of the health order" on Tuesday night. Pic: Norfolk Constabulary.

Norfolk Constabulary

Police say they are being called to “too many breaches of the health order” over coronavirus in parts of Norwich - and urged people to stay inside to protect the NHS.

Officers on the North East Norwich safer neighbourhood team said that on Tuesday night they were called to a barbecue with more than 10 people and people sunbathing in Chapelfield Gardens.

Earlier in the day they had spoken to children who were playing football at a school.

Tweeting about the call-outs, Norwich police said: “North East Norwich Safer Neighbourhood Team have been clled to too many reports of breaches of the health order tonight.”

Urging people to abide by restrictions on movement they added: “Please protect the NHS and do your part!”

Police said that, at 5.30pm, officers attended Chapelfield Gardens where half-a-dozen people were spoken to and moved on.

At about 7pm police were called to St Olaves Road, where about a dozen people were attending a barbecue, while four children were spoken to after they were seen on the playground at West Earlham Infant School on Tuesday lunchtime.

Temporary assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth, said: “Sadly there is still a minority who believe it is acceptable to continue to ignore the rules and potentially put lives at risk.

“Our biggest concern following the weekend is the number of people who have attended other households, particularly for barbecues or parties.

Norwich police say they were called to Norwich police say they were called to "too many breaches of the health order" on Tuesday night. Pic: Norfolk Constabulary.

“The government guidelines are clear and people should not be visiting friends or family. Joining friends and family is a big risk of spreading the virus and damaging the NHS’s ability to manage patient care.

“This virus does not discriminate between friends, families or strangers and it can be transmitted between anyone. If you are supporting relatives and friends in at risk groups – such as doing shopping for them – leave it on their doorstep and stay at least two metres away from them.

“I would urge people to consider their plans carefully for the forthcoming Easter weekend and follow the government advice on social distancing.

“Unless your travel is essential, the only plans you should be making are to stay home and stay safe in order to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Over the weekend, Norfolk police received more than 350 calls from members of the public reporting people ignoring the coronavirus lockdown guidelines.

On Saturday (April 4), police received 160 calls from members of the public with a further 198 calls on Sunday (April 5).

As a result, 51 warnings were given to those in public or gathered at other addresses on Saturday, including partygoers at a house in Broadland, all of whom were sent home.

On Sunday, officers issued 58 warnings, including to a pub in North Norfolk selling take away meals but letting customers eat them in its beer garden.

Following further enquiries it was established no offences had been committed.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith urged people to stay indoors, so police do not have to be out dealing with incidents such as sunbathers.

She said: “We need the police to be able to do their jobs, just like we need the NHS to be able to do its job and that requires all of us to do our jobs - that, I’m afraid, means staying at home to protect these resources and save lives.”

Meanwhile, nearly half of the public support the police approach to enforcing coronavirus lockdown rules, but a third think officers’ actions have gone too far in some cases, a survey suggests.

A YouGov poll commissioned by crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory asked 1,646 adults between Friday and Sunday for their thoughts on how they view the police handling of the new laws and Government guidance to keep people indoors and protect against the spread of Covid-19.

The research indicated 42pc of respondents fully support the approach taken by the police, but a further 32pc felt in some cases the police had gone too far.

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