Police have begun carrying out targeted patrols across Devon and Cornwall and will disperse any large groups of people to ensure government measures to tackle the coronavirus are met.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Monday evening brought in a strict new lockdown for the country, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, telling people to stay at home to save lives and take the pressure off the NHS.
Further powers for police will be introduced in the coming days, where officers can fine those who break the new rules.
Glen Mayhew, Devon and Cornwall Police Assistant Chief Constable, said: “Current legislation provides officers with powers to disperse large groups of people if necessary and to take action against anti-social behaviour and public disorder.
“With immediate effect we are deploying officers to undertake targeted patrols, actively encouraging people to adhere to the measures which have been put in place.
“Over the next few days, additional legislation will be made available to the police, however I anticipate the vast majority of people within our communities will adhere to these restrictions.
“We each have a part to play to protect the loved ones in our communities and by doing this we can save lives.”
He said police had been working with key partners for several weeks to put plans in place to reduce the impact of the coronavirus across Devon and Cornwall.
ACC Mayhew said: “As part of the Local Resilience Forum we have been working with key partners for several weeks developing plans to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
“There are over 30 partner agencies in the resilience forum who, as part of the local communities themselves understand what is required and we have a range of measures in place to ensure core services are maintained for vulnerable members of the community.
“I am confident that whilst we are working in an unchartered environment and the measures are unsettling for everyone, working together, we can all make an impact to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives.”