Merseyside Police is continuing to workside alongside local authorities, the NHS, local businesses and licensed premises to ensure the safety of visitors to Sefton, and the staff, who have been able to come back to work and offer some sense of normality as the lockdown slowly eases.
This weekend we’re expecting to see a change in the weather and some sunshine and we know that recently good weather has increased the number of people coming out to enjoy parks and open spaces, and in Sefton we have seen large gatherings of people on the beaches, which has made it difficult for people to socially distance.
Last Saturday (4 July) businesses in the hospitality sector also reopened their doors across Merseyside to welcome customers. But they have opened under strict government criteria which means that a visit to the pub, or a restaurant, is not the same as it was before lockdown. And those guidelines are there to protect the staff and the public and to help provide a potential second spike of the Coronavirus.
Last weekend we put an extensive policing plan in place alongside our partners to support local businesses and ensure that those coming into Sefton were able to safely enjoy their visit.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden, said: “Since restrictions were lifted we have found that large numbers of people are coming out to enjoy the sunshine and open parks and spaces, including our fabulous beaches. But unfortunately, the large number of people that have gathered on our beaches during recent good weather has resulted in people not being able to socially distance, which puts the whole community at potential risk.
“We have also seen increases in illegal gatherings, anti social behaviour and criminality, which spoils things for the decent law-abiding people who want to enjoy their local area in safety.
“To help keep yourself and others safe, we would urge people to check the internet and social media before travelling to popular destinations to ensure they can socially distance while there, and that the destination is prepared for visitors and facilities will be open and available.
“The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times, and when outdoors you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines. To re-familiarise yourself with current guidelines read the government advice https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do#gatherings-public-spaces-and-activities
“Together with Sefton Council, who have restricted access to car parks and roads in popular areas, and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service we are working hard to keep local residents and the wider public safe on what is a public coastline by patrolling key areas.”
“Parking issues, litter and minor incidents of disorder have previously been reported to the council and police over the weekend, and a large quantity of alcohol has also been seized by police from people making their way to Formby beach. A Public Spaces Protection Order has been in place since 2018 prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in areas including Formby, Crosby and Ainsdale beaches and anyone not adhering to the PSPO will be dealt with.
“This weekend and in the weeks to come our priority will remain the health and safety of the public and my plea to those coming in to Sefton is to enjoy the fantastic amenities that the area has to officer but always remember it’s incredibly important that we continue to stick to social distancing rules going forward without becoming complacent.
Merseyside Police ACC Carden, added: “More businesses and licensed premises have opened in the last week, but it is still vital that we all take care and adhere to the guidelines that have been put in place to protect us and our loved ones.
“If you are thinking of going out to a pub, restaurant, or to shop, remember that we still need to support each other, our local businesses, and of course our emergency services, by doing the right thing.
“Sadly, we are still in the midst of a public health emergency and our return to normality will be slow and cautious., and we must do all we can to keep making progress.
“Throughout the lockdown the overwhelming majority of the public supported the restrictions in place, and supported the valiant efforts of the NHS, and we need to ensure that the combined effort and work to slow down the spread of this disease is not undone.
“The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we are now seeing in other areas of the country.
“Things will look and feel different for those who are intending to go out. You’ll have to book in, queue up, and ensure social distancing is maintained throughout. People will need to be really patient and respect those who are working as hard as possible under unusual conditions including door staff, bar staff and people serving you.
“Planning a night out in advance has never been more important, so please ensure you’re allowed into where you want to go, stay safe from the spread of the virus, and ensure travel arrangements are in place so you can safely get home. Do your research and put the safety of yourself and others first.
“We’ll have a major policing operation in place alongside businesses and all our Local Authorities this weekend. Our officers will be patrolling the city, and town centres to encourage and explain to people and we’ll be keeping a close eye on all of our key locations, through patrols, CCTV monitoring and working with partners.
“Our emergency services don’t need any extra strain at these times, so remember that NHS staff need to be available for emergencies, not dealing with avoidable situations where people have overindulged, or become involved in fights. If you do come out, enjoy yourselves, stay safe and be kind to each other.
“Report any concerns to us via 999 in an emergency, or through passing information via @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and we’ll take the appropriate action.”
Councillor Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “We know that it has been difficult for people over recent months not to have been able to meet with their family and friends, but we still need to limit the spread of Covid-19.
“With the easing of the lockdown more and more people will be out and about.
“Make sure to wash your hands as soon as you return from the shops or work and use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone safe.”
“If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle or drive instead. If you do need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place and wear a face covering. It is not possible to socially distance during car journeys so, avoid travelling in a car with
“If you’re travelling to our beautiful Sefton coast and open space please remain respectful, take your litter home and don’t light camp fires or barbecues.
“Many people living in our coastal areas have experienced an increase in parked cars due to high visitor numbers and so we will continue to work with Merseyside Police to limit access to local roads where necessary. Our enforcement officers will be out issuing parking tickets to cars parked irresponsibly and dangerously during busy weekends.”