More people in Devon and Cornwall flouted coronavirus lockdown regulations more than any other part of the UK, research has revealed.
George Thorpe www.devonlive.com
Freedom of Information requests submitted by The University of Law (ULaw) show that between March 23 and June 30, there were 956 cases of rules being broken across the two counties, equating to 21% of the 4,490 offences dealt with by the authorities.
It puts the area at the top of the list for UK by some distance with Derbyshire second on 570 and Leicestershire third with 479.
Northamptonshire and the West Midlands complete the top five with 436 and 376 offences respectively.
Speaking about the research’s findings, Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen, programme and student lead for policing programmes at ULaw, said: “In September, we’ve seen many people return to work and children return to school with a heightened appreciation for our emergency services.
“While public authorities were already under immense pressure during lockdown earlier in the year, it is shocking to see this research highlighting the huge number of those defying lockdown rules set by the Government, which were there to protect us.
“During this same timeframe, public authorities around the UK also dealt with a total of 68,747 general crimes, further putting pressure on their resources.
“Lockdown was hard for many people and the laws were put in place in order to slow the spread of the virus, as is shown with Leicestershire, not abiding by these lockdown rules may result in us being placed under tighter restrictions once again right across the UK.
“Getting caught in breach of the lockdown restrictions can put you at risk of ending up with a criminal record, which will have a serious long-term impact on your life.
“With new restrictions now coming into play, we’d encourage the public to take note and make sure they are fully informed when it comes to the powers of the police and their local authorities.”
From today (September 24), new COVID-19 restrictions introduced by the Government will require hospitality and entertainment establishment such as pubs, restaurants and bowling alleys to close at 10pm and not reopen until 5am.
Pubs, bars and restaurants must also offer table service only.
People are also being encouraged to work from home if possible while a maximum of 15 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions from Monday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also unveiled a series of financial measures aimed at helping the country’s economy including VAT cuts and wage subsidies.