People urged to stay at home as county enters third national lockdown

On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 the country will enter the third national lockdown to help control the spread of Covid-19.

People should stay at home and only leave to shop for essentials, exercise, work, seek medical assistance or escape domestic abuse. The measures, which will stay in place until at least mid-February, includes the closure of schools, whilst early year settings can remain open.

The approach to policing the lockdown in Kent has not changed and officers will continue to police in the way they have since March – using the 4E approach. Engaging, Explaining, Encouraging and Enforcing only as a last resort.

During the new year period, Kent police officers closed down house parties, dealt with people breaching self-isolation requirements and flouted travel bans between 31 December 2020 and 3 January 2021. In total 42 people were fined.

On New Year’s Eve officers attended a property in Oaten Hill, Canterbury where a group of teenagers were holding a party and a man was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £200.

The same evening more fines were handed out in Medway as people held parties and met friends. Four separate incidents resulted in 15 fines being issued to people in Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester.

On New Year’s Day, at 9am, two men from outside the county were fined £200 each after officers attended a property in Wickhambreaux, Canterbury. One of the men had travelled 80 miles from his home to the property, which had been booked for a birthday party.

Later the same day officers stopped a vehicle near to Medway Services. On speaking to officers she said that she had travelled from Scotland to attend a house party. She was fined £200 and told to return home.

A stop check by officers in New Road, Chatham resulted in a £1000 fine for a man who failed to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 and was meeting with other people.

Another £1000 fine was issued to a woman in Ramsgate on Sunday, 3 January. The woman was a passenger of a car involved in a collision and enquiries revealed that she should have been self-isolating.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix, of Kent Police said: ‘The vast majority of Kent residents recognise the importance of abiding by the regulations to control the spread of Covid-19 and stayed at home with members of their household to see in the New Year.

‘In other instances, we were able to disperse people and remind them of their personal responsibility to do the right thing and follow the law.

‘However, on the occasions where people showed a blatant disregard for the regulations, putting others in danger by hosting gatherings or meeting others whilst infected with the virus, officers were left with no other option but to issue fines.

‘As we enter the third national lockdown we will continue to police in the way we have since March – engaging with people, reminding them of their responsibilities and taking further action when necessary.

‘The restrictions are designed to reduce the infection rate – but they will only work if people comply. I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the latest guidance to ensure we all collectively help reduce infections. Preventing the spread of the virus is a shared effort, and police will play their part alongside the Government, businesses, hospitality owners, local authorities and the public.’

A summary of the fines issued are shown below:

Thursday 31 December 2020 (17 fines)

  • A party at a house in Montgomery Avenue in Chatham at 9pm. One woman and three men received fines of £200 each.
  • A party at a house in Pegasus Way in Gillingham at around 10.30pm resulted in six men and two women being fined £200 each.
  • One man was issued with a £200 fine for meeting friends at a multi-storey car park in Rochester at around 10.30pm.
  • Two women were fined £200 each for breaching restrictions and meeting at a house in St Pauls Close in Rochester at around 11.15pm.
  • A man was fined £200 at around 3.15pm in Miller close, Sittingbourne for contravening requirement to not leave or be outside a place where they are living.
  • A man was fined £200 after officers attended a house party in Oaten Hill, Canterbury.

Friday 1 January 2021 (16 fines)

  • Eight men and four women were fined £200 each following a party at property in Chatham Hill, Chatham at around midnight.
  • A man was fined £1000 in New Road, Chatham, for not isolating after testing positive and was found with other people. He was also found to be breaching international travel regulations.
  • Two men from outside of Kent were fined £200 each at property in Wickhambreaux Canterbury at around 9am. They were found after officers attended the address following a report of a disturbance. One person had travelled 80 miles from his property and the residence had been booked for a birthday party.
  • A woman from Scotland was stopped at Medway Services and fined £200 for being out and on her way to a party.

Saturday 2 January 2021 (7 fines)

  • Three men from London, travelled down to Kent and was found to be driving around in Dover at around 10.30pm. They were fined £200 each.
  • £200 fines were issued to four men for having a party at an address in Zealand Road, Canterbury at around 10.30pm.

Sunday 3 January 2021 (2 fines)

  • A man was fined £200 for gathering inside a property in Herald Walk, Dartford, which was not his address.
  • A woman fined £1000 for failing to self-isolate at around 11.40pm in Hillicondane Road, Ramsgate.

There were 42 fines in total

By Ed