Police fines are a last resort but WILL be issued to anyone ignoring the lockdown rules this Easter bank holiday - and anyone attempting to travel to Cornwall will be turned around.

This is the message from Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew, who said that while the vast majority of people were supportive of the police, a minority "continue to ignore government instruction which is in place ultimately to save lives."

With that in mind he had told officers the option of enforcement was available to them, for anyone not following social distancing.

Assistant Chief Constable Mayhew said: "Currently, my officers have only issued a handful of fines since the new legislation has been introduced.

“We are aware of frustrations our public feel when they see others not doing their part and undertaking anything other than essential travel.

“As we look to the bank holiday weekend I wish to be clear with our message which is stay at home and do not undertake travel that isn’t essential. My officers will continue to be visible in our towns and cities, and we will police the roads."

He said while he wanted to continue operating a police style of "engagement and encouragement", but he was in support of fines where necessary.

Assistant Chief Constable Mayhew also had a message for anyone still planning to travel during the Easter break.

“We understand that people may have second homes in Devon or Cornwall but we urge you not to travel to them.

“The Gov.uk website states that ‘Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People must remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.’

“In accordance with this guidance, we do not consider this to be a reasonable excuse for individuals to be away from their home. If we stop vehicles and they are travelling to a second home we will ask them to return to their primary residence," he said.

“As a last resort police officers will use their discretion around whether the issuing of fines. This approach is not one we would take lightly and we are fortunate that the vast majority of people not only in our counties but across the country are staying home and protecting lives.

"I would like to thank those within Devon and Cornwall who continue to do their part in reducing the strain on our NHS.

“Whilst we finalise the technology that will allow my officers to issue these fines directly, the option of reporting and summonsing to court is available to them.

“I would like to emphasise that policing by consent remains our priority. We will continue to use discretion and only use enforcement as a last resort."

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