New police powers are due to come into effect today
Hertfordshire Police is urging parents to discuss the issues of COVID-19 with their children after officers on patrol came across several groups of older children and young adults who appear to be flouting the government’s lockdown measures, put in place to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Parents are also being asked to discuss the reasons behind the school closures and lockdown measures taken with their children.
Children and young adults in mass groups in the community, who are stopped by officers will be told about the risks and parent/guardian details will also be obtained.
New police powers are due to come into effect today (Thursday) to allow officers to enforce the lockdown measures.
Officers will however be considering using existing powers in the meantime, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, to disperse groups and will issue Community Protection Notices directing people not to gather in a certain area, if they refuse to comply.
Assistant Chief Constable Nathan Briant said: “Officers and staff across Hertfordshire Constabulary are working with partners and communities to keep people safe.
"The government has issued a very clear instruction to people as to the actions they need to take to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
“I would encourage everyone to focus on the purpose of the legislation rather than look for potential loopholes or exemptions, and act in accordance with both the letter of the law, and the spirit.
"The new regulations are designed to protect everyone, especially our most vulnerable communities and so seeking ways to get around them is in my view selfish and does nothing to assist the UK effort.
"Parents also have a duty to take responsibility for their children and to ensure that they abide by the lockdown measures imposed by the government.
"Whilst we aim to support wherever possible, provide advice and guidance, nobody should be in any doubt that Hertfordshire Constabulary will be robust in our approach to those failing to comply with the new regulations.”
If you see a group of people gathered in public, please report this to police by using the online reporting portal.