Police continue ‘Operation Stay at Home’ checkpoints

STROUD Police were posted at a check point at the Gloucestershire border yesterday evening, as the force continues to ask for the public’s support in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief inspector Steve Lindsay MBE tweeted a photo of the Stroud police team at the checkpoint, saying: “Yesterday evening the team were on the county border carrying out checks into the county of Gloucestershire as part of Operation Stay at Home.”

Operation Stay at Home was launched at the weekend in a bid to reduce the amount of people using the roads for unnecessary travel, this includes going to a second home, on day trips and to holiday homes or locations with caravans or tents.

Proactive patrols are engaging with people, explaining the social distancing regulations and encourage those who are out without good reason to return home.

As part of the operation, vehicles travelling through the county may be stopped and turned around if there is not a reasonable excuse for travel.

Enforcement can be used in the issuing of fines as a last resort, and a small number of these have been issued in the past week.

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “The vast majority of those across the county have been extremely supportive and I am grateful to everyone who has followed the advice in our joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We want everyone to have an enjoyable Easter holiday, but there needs to be a common sense approach around following the social distancing guidelines.

“Going on a day trip, holiday or meeting with friends is not a reasonable excuse to be outside your home during a pandemic, and is something that we are looking to tackle.

“Where people are going on day trips, holidays, second homes or on picnics, they are making a conscious decision to flout the law. There is no reasonable excuse to leave your home for this purpose.

“Where people have chosen to do this, it is in the clear knowledge that what they are doing is in breach of the law. I would fully expect that in those circumstances my officers would issue fines.

“We’re doing everything we can to fight this pandemic, working together with partners to protect the NHS and save lives and I would urge you to please continue doing your bit in this fight.”

As part of Operation Stay at Home, a deployment plan has been put in place which includes stopping vehicles travelling on routes within the county.

There will also be a concentration on parks and open spaces, with digital media vans touring Gloucestershire, visiting key locations displaying ‘stay at home’ messages.

Officers from the Special Constabulary have also been working alongside colleagues at Michaelwood Services on the M5, where there is now signage on display with messages asking drivers if their journey is absolutely necessary.

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Inspector Dan Wakeford from the Specialist Operations team added: “This really is a team effort across the Constabulary with support from Special Constabulary, Force Response Unit, Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Specialist Operations.

“Since last weekend we have all been taking part in patrols where the vast majority of people complied with guidelines on essential travel, however there were a few instances where further action was needed and fines were issued.

“Before deciding to leave home please question whether your journey is essential. We understand people will want to go outside and enjoy warmer weather, but we will continue to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.

“We all have a shared responsibility in adhering to these regulations to stop the spread of coronavirus – please stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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