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Coronavirus: Police spot checks in North Yorkshire

Coronavirus: Police spot checks in North Yorkshire

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Stuart Minting at 6:45am 26th March 2020. (Updated at 1:08pm 26th March 2020)

North Yorkshire Police have launched spot checks on motorists and pedestrians to tackle a minority of people who are ignoring stark government warnings to avoid non-essential journeys.

  • North Yorkshire Police have have launched spot checks on motorists and pedestrians.
  • They are questioning people about their reasons for not being at home.
  • The checks are being carried out  on key routes and towns and city centres.

North Yorkshire Police along with Durham Constabulary launched the unprecedented action on key routes and town and city centres.  They are questioning people about their reasons for not being at home, as senior officers issued statements in an attempt to press home the importance of social distancing and isolation.

The move comes ahead of emergency legislation that is expected to give police enforcement powers to issue fines over is expected to become law today.  

Despite hundreds of calls on social media in the region for the forces to fines and send groups of teenagers home, the forces said they were only able to “simply educate and advise”.

Police officers

North Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said: 

"We sincerely hope that we will not have to resort to enforcement measures, but if we have to, we will. I know the vast majority of people will follow the restrictions without question, as they have done so already and we will work with local communities to help reinforce the message should it be necessary.”

The force said less traffic on the road was encouraging some motorists to drive unsafely. It urged motorists not to tie up valuable police or NHS resources by committing “dangerous but preventable” offences such as speeding, handheld mobile phone use, drink or drug-driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

However, the force’s statement that it would continue to enforce speeds through its fleet of mobile safety camera vans has drawn complaints.