Continuing to respond to Covid-19 breaches
Main article content
We want to thank the people of Essex for supporting us during the last week and for doing the right thing in continuing to stay at home in order to protect the NHS.
Right from the start we have taken a common-sense approach to policing the Government guidelines through the pandemic. Our approach, the four Es, is easy to understand; first we engage with people, before explaining the situation and encouraging them to do the right thing.
However, when there are clear and blatant breaches, we will take enforcement action.
Just this weekend, Saturday 31 January, 18 reckless revellers were caught having an illegal house party and have been fined nearly £15,000.
We attended a house in Bury Road, Stewardstonebury where a party was taking place in a clear and flagrant breach of the current restrictions which are designed to keep us all safe; others were still arriving.
All 18 people present - including 17 people from London and just one from Essex – were fined £800 following the introduction of higher penalties last week for those caught attending illegal house parties of 15 people or more.
An investigation led by our detectives is now underway to establish who organised the event.
Previously, we shared with you several incidents where enforcement action took place and fines were issued. We hoped that by showing you the types of incidents we tackle almost daily, that anyone about to make a non-essential journey would stop, reconsider and stay at home; actions everyone can do to keep you and your loved ones safe from the unnecessary spread of coronavirus.
Despite the restrictions about non-essential travel, more of those journeys have been made.
On Sunday 24 January, officers from Braintree’s Community Policing Team stopped a car for speeding just outside Rivenhall village. The four men in the car had driven from Birmingham in snowy weather to pick up a new car.
While questioning them about their journey, officers also discovered that the four men were from two different households.
The driver was issued a speeding ticket and all four were issued fixed penalty notices for non-essential travel before being directed back home.
Officers from Basildon Community Policing Team issued a fine to a man who drove from the capital into Essex to test drive his new car.
In Wickford two people who had travelled all the way from Gillingham to celebrate their friend’s birthday were handed fixed penalty notices for non-essential travel.
On Saturday 23 January officers stopped a car In Waltham Abbey after finding seven people inside. They had travelled together from several Surrey households to Essex for a “music lesson”. Five fixed penalty notices were issued.
In the early hours of the same day, patrolling officers issued two penalty notices after they stopped a car near to the Clacton seafront at 3.30am. The driver and his passenger had travelled from Barking to Clacton to sight-see, contravening a requirement not to travel unless an essential journey.
We also have another incident which resulted in one of the largest number of fines issued for a single Covid breach, but prior to the new powers available to officers. It involved a car meet on Saturday 23 January.
Seventeen people were issued fines for the mass gathering after travelling to a Canvey Island industrial estate in the early hours.
Again, we would ask of anyone about to organise a social gathering or to make a non-essential journey to stop and reconsider. Help those in the NHS, police, schools and everyone who is supporting us all through the pandemic to stay safe and stop the unnecessary spread of coronavirus.
We want people to continue to report Covid breaches. You can make reports via our website by using our digital 101 service, where you can speak to one of our operators online live time, between 7am and 11pm.
We are asking anyone who has information about who organised the illegal house party in Bury Road, Stewardstonebury to do the right thing and get in contact with us either through our digital 101 service, by calling 101 or if you would like to report information anonymously, you can do so through independent charity Crimestoppers.
For further details about the latest Covid-19 restrictions, please visit the government's website.