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Just do right thing to keep us safe, says PSNI chief

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Police Federation chairman Mark Lindsay

Police Federation chairman Mark Lindsay

PA

Police Federation chairman Mark Lindsay

A police chief has urged people not to be preoccupied about which restrictions were regulations and which were guidelines and instead focus on "doing the right thing".

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd made the plea as the Police Federation NI (PFNI)urged the Executive to give officers more powers to enforce the tighter restrictions.

Since last Thursday a stay-at-home order has been in place, making it a legal requirement for the public to remain in their households in all but a limited set of circumstances. However, there is no legal restriction on how far people can travel for exercise.

PFNI chair Mark Lindsay said officers needed the authority to order people home instead of just issuing guidance.

"For the minority who flout the guidance, the police must be given full enforcement powers to order them to do what they should be doing anyway, and that is staying at home and not leaving the house unless for permitted activities," he said.

"For as long as we don't see guidance turned into regulation, we will have abuses."

Police issued 168 fines last weekend, mostly for individuals in respect of house parties.

Mr Todd said that while the student Holyland area in south Belfast is not specifically an area of great concern at the moment, the number of illegal house parties remains an issue.

"My overarching message to the public is that we're in difficult times. This is not a police message, but any of us as citizens in Northern Ireland can't help but watch the evening news and see the scenes in hospitals and not be struck by the hugely difficult circumstances," he said.

"Each and every one of us can play a role in doing the right thing in helping us get through this. As a police officer, we end up talking a lot of the time about the law and the regulations.

"And rather than the public worry too much about what's in regulation and what's in guidelines, if people do the right thing within the guidelines then they won't come into conflict, or come to the attention, of police."

Latest PSNI figures show that from March a total of 4,049 penalty notices had been issued, of which 1,948 were the higher fine of £200, There were 1,810 community resolution notices issued, and 55 £1,000 fines for failure to isolate.

Meanwhile, 1,096 prohibition notices were issued, 184 of which were doled out to licensed premises and the reminder for gatherings in private dwellings, with an additional 45 fines issued to businesses.

Belfast Telegraph


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