We are urging our communities to continue adhering to the COVID restrictions as the country enters its third national lockdown.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard reaffirmed the Force's commitment to policing with consent and in a proportionate way but has warned those intent on breaching the rules that officers will quickly move to enforcement.

He said: "I'm sure people will have been left under no illusion following the national broadcast from the Prime Minister on Monday evening - the situation has worsened and we all have to act to stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

"We owe it to our colleagues working in our NHS to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus and protect our healthcare system.

"Therefore, we need to make it clear that breaches of the national lockdown are completely unacceptable.

"Since the start of this pandemic, we have focused on engaging with those in breach of the regulations and encouraging them to follow the guidance which we will continue to do but, as we start this third period of national lockdown, every single person should know what is expected of them and what is acceptable.

"I know the vast majority of people across our communities continue to adhere to the various restrictions in place over the past ten months, and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to those who have already sacrificed so much.

"That is why we need to ensure that their efforts are not ruined by a small minority. My officers and staff will be out in our communities taking a proactive approach to ensure the lockdown is being adhered to and issuing fixed penalty notices when they find breaches."

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said he fully supported the Chief Constable's approach and believed it would also be supported by the public.

He said: "We all want this lockdown to work as quickly as possible to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and give the vaccination programme a chance to be rolled out, providing protection for the most vulnerable and at risk sectors of society.

"But we need good compliance if we are to see it make a real difference.

"Therefore, we all need to rekindle the spirit of the first lockdown back in March. The messaging is the same as back then - stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS. Of course there are reasons why you are allowed to be out of your house, and there are some exemptions relating to work and education, as well as support and childcare bubbles, so please make sure you visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus to ensure you understand the rules clearly and what they will mean for you.

"I would urge everyone to do everything you can to stay at home as much as possible. It is only by drastically reducing our social interactions and potential contact with others that we can bring the virus back under control."

Seventeen fixed penalty notices were issued to people in Swindon and Wiltshire over Christmas and New Year.

On Boxing Day (26/12) two men and one woman in Salisbury were fined for gathering in a group of more than six outdoors, having previously been warned earlier in the month.

On 28 December, three men from Birmingham were stopped in Swindon and fined for being in the same vehicle despite being from three different households.

On 30 December a man in Swindon was fined for not wearing a face covering, while on 31 December a man in Swindon was fined for breaching Tier 4 restrictions by gathering in a group of more than two people outdoors, having been previously warned for failing to adhere to the rules back in November.

On New Year's Eve, six individuals were issued with FPNs after gathering illegally at a licensed premises in Trowbridge.

On Sunday (03/01) three men in Swindon were fined for breaching Tier 4 restrictions by gathering outdoors in a group of more than two, after previously receiving several warnings and fixed penalty notices in November.

The latest figures show that for the two weeks between 21/12 and 04/01 Wiltshire Police:

  • Issued seventeen fixed penalty notices. This brings the overall total to 265.
  • Issued 88 formal warnings to people for failing to adhere to the Government rules.
  • Recorded 177 reports from members of the public, either via the phone or using our online reporting tool.
  • Recorded two Covid-related crimes and eight Covid-related incidents.

If you have concerns about someone potentially breaching the Government's restrictions we would urge you to report this online via the Report section of our website to help keep our phone lines free for other police matters.

Today we have published the latest of our regular reports outlining the latest Covid-related figures for the Force, up to 29 December 2020 and you can read it from the link below.