The top cop of the Staffordshire Moorlands says officers will use ‘common sense’ when it comes to coronavirus regulations.
In recent days there has been confusion about how far people can travel to exercise under the coronavirus lockdown rules.
It comes after two friends from Derbyshire were given £200 fines for travelling five miles to walk around a local beauty spot.
Now Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, the commander of the Staffordshire Moorlands policing team, has moved to clarify how local officers will react to the stay at home message.
He said: “I’m again being asked ‘how far can I travel to take exercise’ please read the guidance and remember, right now is not about doing what you want but doing what you can to help everyone and not just yourself.
“My team will use common sense, please do the same.”
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has clarified the stance and says there are no restrictions in place regarding how far families can travel for exercise.
However Boris Johnson’s plea to the public was to stay as local as possible.
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A spokesman said: “UK Government guidance strongly requests that people do not leave their local area. However, the Covid Regulations which officers enforce and which enables them to issue FPNs for breaches, do not restrict the distance travelled for exercise.
“Police officers will be inquisitive about why people are out of their homes and will explain the regulations and encourage people to comply.
“Where people are breaching the regulations and are away from home without a reasonable excuse, they may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.
“In situations where people are breaching the guidance not to travel out their local area but are not breaching regulations, officers will encourage people to follow the guidance.”
People may only leave home for specific reasons, which include:
- Go to work if it’s impossible to work from home, e.g. construction or critical worker who can’t work from home
- To shop for necessities including food and medicine
- To exercise, which can be with up to one other person from outside your household or bubble. The exercise should ideally be limited to once per day. Guidance is that people should try to do this locally
- To provide care or help to a vulnerable person
- To attend medical appointments or seek medical care or fleeing the threat of harm or violence