Between Friday, March 27, and Monday, May 11 – roughly the first eight weeks of lockdown – police issued a total of 655 fines to people breaching the rules.
Of these, 297 fines were issued in the past two weeks – the vast majority of which were over the hot early May bank holiday weekend, in which Sussex saw an influx of visitors from outside the county which was, at that time, against government regulations, police said.
The force has now outlined how it will police the updated lockdown measures.
Changes were made by the Government last week to moderate stringent lockdown rules, in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
People can now spend as much time outside as they wish for activities and can travel for activity as long as they do not stay overnight.
Some rules remain in place however, for example to prevent large gatherings or people travelling for holiday purposes or to stay in second homes.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller said: “In this new phase, the police will support partner agencies to deter and deal with clear breaches of the new rules, such as people gathering in groups, but very much with our existing approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging first and using enforcement as a last resort.
“We are all in this together, we want to prevent a second spike in the infection, and so, above all, we urge people to follow the new guidance for their own benefit and to prevent harm to others.”
He added: “The policing role has never been to enforce social distancing – that is a matter of personal responsibility, and we have been encouraged by the vast majority of people adhering to this.”
Officers and PCSOs will continue to patrol in local communities and hot spot areas on the coast and at local beauty spots, as well as identifying and enforcing criminal activity on the roads network.
Sussex Police has seen an increase in reports of criminal activity from the public and encourages people to report suspicious or unusual behaviour.
While the force is not seeing a rise in domestic abuse reports, it is receiving more calls to domestic incidents such as arguing, the spokesman said.
“We continue to work with support services to ensure that we are able to respond and support people if they call and need help,” said the spokesman.
“Those people subject to violence or coercion behind closed doors, children vulnerable to online abuse; people vulnerable to exploitation should be in no doubt – we continue to be there for you.”
Incidents of domestic abuse can be reported to police online here.
For more information and advice, visit Safe Space for a list of organisations that have services to help.
Mr Miller added: “The policing role in Sussex has never changed.
“We are here to prevent, investigate and detect crime and to keep people safe, and this is evidenced in the on-going efforts of police officers and staff to proactively tackle crime, take criminals off the streets and provide support to victims that need our help.”
Members of the public can contact Sussex Police about possible breaches of coronavirus measures online here.
The webpage provides the following details: “Please make sure you’ve read and understand what is and isn’t allowed before you get in touch with us.
“Only report something if you think there is a serious breach of the rules like:
– a gathering of more than two people from different households, in the park or on the streets
– a house party with people who don’t live at the house
– people drinking together at a pub, bar, cafe or restaurant
– a crowded shop where people are refusing to keep their distance from each other.”
A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
Stay safe, and best wishes.