As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout Merseyside, regional and city leaders are once again urging everyone in our communities to play their part to protect loved ones and save lives.
The NHS is facing unprecedented pressure, and it is more important than ever we abide by the rules to ensure our healthcare workers can continue to work effectively.
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “The rapidly rising numbers of people affected by this pandemic means that we are now facing a critical time, and increasingly feeling the impact on the health of those around us. A time where we all need to consider ‘Do I need to do this?’ in every aspect of our lives, and behave as if we are potentially carrying the virus.
“You must stay home unless you have a valid reason to leave such as daily exercise, work that cannot be done at home or essential shopping only. You should not travel outside your local area for exercise.
“Each unnecessary journey, gathering and interaction could have dire consequences and potentially spread the virus further. We understand the fatigue that people feel at the moment. However, the more people who are tempted to turn a blind eye to current restrictions and act without consideration for others, the bigger the risks created. To visit family or friends outside of your bubble might feel justified, but it can put them and you at risk, particularly those who are vulnerable.
“Please don’t relax, be complacent or give up after all the effort and sacrifice we have collectively made in Merseyside. We know that since March 2020 we have all faced an incredibly difficult time, but the rollout of vaccines for our most vulnerable shows there are reasons to be positive and reasons to believe this will be the toughest period to get through. The pandemic has affected every single person in Merseyside in some way, and tragically for some this has involved serious illness and loss of life.
“There is no doubt that the coming weeks will be hard, but communities across Merseyside have already shown that through patience, hard work and dedication, the rate of infection can be driven down. The sense of public duty and compassion shown has been fantastic, and is something I’m incredibly proud of. It has allowed our healthcare workers to provide patients with treatment that has often been life-saving, something which needs to continue as the demand on healthcare increases further.
“Unfortunately not everyone has been so public-spirited and even though my officers have been on the frontline encouraging those people to do the right thing from day one, enforcement action has still been needed.
“More than 100 fixed penalty notices have been issued since this latest lockdown began, for a variety of breaches including an attempt to protest in Liverpool City Centre last weekend, which was rightly halted, and house parties and gatherings hosted by people with seemingly little regard for the safety of their loved ones. A total of more than 1,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued since we entered Tier 3 in October last year.
“We’ll continue to robustly target our resources towards those who commit breaches and put others at risk through their behaviour. It’s important to recognise too that crime hasn’t stopped and some criminals will try and take advantage of this situation. We will endeavour to do everything we possibly can to deliver the best possible service during these unprecedented times, but we need the public’s help. If officers are spending more time dealing with COVID related breaches it can take them away from the heart of our duty to protect the public from criminality. As throughout this time my officers and staff will do everything they can to keep you safe.
“This is a crucial time, and the more people follow the guidance, the quicker things will improve for everyone and the sooner we will get back to some form of normality. By following the rules and taking personal and collective responsibility, we are doing our bit to keep our families, friends, vulnerable people in Merseyside and our key healthcare workers safe. Thank you all.”
In a joint statement, Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, the Acting Mayor of Liverpool and the Leaders of the five City Region Local Authorities said:
“The vast majority of people are following the rules and we thank them for doing so, but the rising case numbers and hospitalisation figures make really sobering reading.
“For those that are not following the rules, they are not above the law. We fully support our police officers who are working tirelessly on the front line, keeping our communities safe.
“The more we all do our bit, the sooner we will get through this difficult period – and we urge everyone to do the right thing to reduce the need for stronger enforcement – and to avoid putting our police officers and their families at unnecessary risk.”
You can report any matters concerning COVID-19 and the current legislation to us @MerPolCC or through Merseyside Police’s website https://www.merseyside.police.uk/.