Police Withdraw £200 Fines For Friends Who Drove Five Miles For A Walk
| Last updated
Best friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, both 27, were stopped by officers as they went into the entrance of Foremark Reservoir in South Derbyshire on Wednesday (6 January) last week.
Initially, they thought there was a major police incident, before being told that they were in breach of coronavirus rules, with officers saying the Starbucks cups they had proved they were having a 'picnic'.
Today, the force's chief constable Rachel Swann has today said: "I can confirm that a review into fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued by my officers last week has been completed.
"Two fixed penalty notices that were handed to two women who had travelled to Foremark Reservoir on Thursday have been withdrawn and we have notified the women directly, apologising for any concern caused.
"I support the fact that the officers were trying to encourage people to stay local to prevent the spread of the virus.
"This is a responsibility for all of us.
"All of our FPNs issued in conjunction with the Covid guidance are subject to review.
"Having received clarification of the guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on Friday, these FPNs as well as a small number of others issued, were reviewed in line with that latest advice, and so it is right that we have taken this action.
"We have been working hard to understand the ever-changing guidance and legislation and to communicate this to our officers in a way that makes it clear what is the right course of action to take."
Chief constable Swann added: "At present there is no clear limit as to how far people can travel to exercise, but Government guidance strongly requests people do not leave their local area.
"We all have a responsibility to follow both the regulations and the guidance put in place to protect the NHS and save lives, and I would expect my officers to continue to take the four Es approach; to engage, explain, encourage, and enforce, to help us to keep them and their communities safe.
"It is important to note that the force has received complaints from residents living in some scenic parts of Derbyshire asking that we carry out activity to stop others travelling to the area because it becomes more crowded for local people.
"Our activity is aimed to address these concerns and to remind people to stay local.
"We will continue to show a visible presence in these areas and encourage people to comply with the guidance."
One of the women, Jessica Allen, told the Guardian: "This afternoon we both received a phone call from Derbyshire police.
"After reviewing our case, our fines have been rescinded and we have received an apology on behalf of the constabulary for the treatment we received.
"We welcomed this apology and we are pleased to draw a line under this event."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS