Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne issued the message today (Friday, April 3) after she chaired a meeting with local MPs and chief constable Giles York to discuss the local policing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said there are fears that with the weather set to heat up this weekend and ‘lockdown fatigue’ increasing that more people may ignore official guidance.
The spokesperson said Sussex’s beaches and areas of natural beauty may become busier and the police are braced to deter day-trippers and local residents.
Mrs Bourne said, “I know the restrictions currently in place are a far cry from everybody’s normality and that temporary sacrifices are having to be made but we all have a responsibility to protect our communities.
“There is a real concern that, as this is the first weekend of the Easter holidays with the weather set to improve, people will be getting in their cars and heading for beauty spots and beaches.
“I’m urging residents and those who may have plans to travel this weekend to stay at home. Do not make our county any more vulnerable to this virus and please do not put any unnecessary strain on our emergency workers.
“The message from the chief and me has always been that the new policing powers will only be used as a last resort. They will instead try to engage with and educate people.
“This approach has worked so far, with only a small handful of fixed penalty notices issued and local MPs today have universally praised the way officers have handled this crisis so far.
“We do not want to go down the enforcement route but where people are found ignoring police advice and putting others in danger, officers will have to use the new legislation in place to protect us.
“I’m proud of how the majority of residents in Sussex have adapted to this crisis and I want to see us all continuing to stay at home. It is making a difference.”