Staffordshire’s top cop Gareth Morgan has urged families not to travel for exercise – despite new guidance suggesting it might be allowed.
New advice issued to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing (CoP) has suggested that driving to exercise could be allowed providing someone spends far longer walking than driving.
The National Rural Crime Network – made up of around 30 police and crime commissioners – has called the guidance unhelpful and called for an urgent review.
But Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Gareth Morgan has urged families to stay away from beauty spots across the county.
In a blog post Mr Morgan said: “When leaving home we need to continue to do what is necessary and reasonable and this includes where we exercise.
“Now is not the time for people to be travelling to exercise in our rural communities or visit local beauty spots and parks and I am pleased that most people understand and support this.
“There has been some recent coverage in the media of additional guidance about what may constitute ‘reasonable’ in terms of the new legislation but I am clear this does not change our policing approach in Staffordshire and we will continue to use discretion and good judgement in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.
The guidance from the government remains that exercise should be done locally, using open spaces near to your home where possible, and people should travel only when necessary and for a short distance.
“Travelling from other areas, like we have seen some examples of recently, to enjoy the county’s rural areas is not necessary or reasonable. The parks, forests and beauty spots in Staffordshire will still be here when this is over and people will be welcome back when it’s safe to do so.
“My colleagues will continue to patrol all areas across the county this weekend and where they come across people travelling unreasonably or people failing to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, they will engage with them, explain the guidance and encourage people to go home, only as a last resort where reason fails, enforcement action will be taken.”
Yesterday (Thursday) cabinet members announced the UK lockdown would be extended by a further three weeks as they try to battle against the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
During this time people are only allowed to leave their homes for one session of daily exercise, to travel to and from work, or to buy essential shopping.
Drop a heart on our special map of gratitude to show your support for our NHS heroes https://www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk/