Police issue countywide warning as young people continue to meet despite lockdown

Wisbech woman Jody Marshall charged with theft, burglary and fraud.

Wisbech woman Jody Marshall charged with theft, burglary and fraud. - Credit: Archant

Parents and carers are being warned of the potential consequences of letting their children roam free during lockdown, after Herts police patrols encountered groups of young people who appear to be disobeying social distancing measures.

Herts police have said they have come across “several groups” of older children and young adults in recent days who are ignoring the government’s lockdown measures.

These groups will be “stopped by officers and engaged with, educated around the risks and parent or guardian details obtained,” according to a Herts police statement.

Now, parents are being urged to discuss the issue of coronavirus with their children and explain the reasons behind school and business closures.

The police advice comes as their new powers are due to take effect today – which will allow officers to disperse groups of more than two people and issue fines to those who refuse to comply.

Assistant Chief Constable Nathan Briant said: “Officers and staff across Hertfordshire Constabulary are working with partners and communities to keep people safe. The government has issued a very clear instruction to people as to the actions they need to take to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.

“I would encourage everyone to focus on the purpose of the legislation rather than look for potential loopholes or exemptions, and act in accordance with both the letter of the law, and the spirit.

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“The new regulations are designed to protect everyone, especially our most vulnerable communities and so seeking ways to get around them is in my view selfish and does nothing to assist the UK effort.

“Parents also have a duty to take responsibility for their children and to ensure that they abide by the lockdown measures imposed by the government.

“Whilst we aim to support wherever possible, provide advice and guidance, nobody should be in any doubt that Hertfordshire Constabulary will be robust in our approach to those failing to comply with the new regulations.”

If you see a group of people gathered in public, please report this to police by using the constabulary’s online reporting portal or webchat service. Both can be found at www.herts.police.uk/report