Half-term reminder to keep children at home to help combat Covid-19
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Northamptonshire Police is reminding parents to ensure their children are not breaking Covid-19 legislation during the half-term holiday.
The Force is regularly receiving reports from across the county from people concerned that young people are breaching lockdown rules by gathering in large groups, in particular at skate parks, and in some cases resulting in anti-social behaviour issues including criminal damage.
The issue is of particular concern in Corby where Covid-19 infections remain far higher than the national average, leading officers to issue warning letters to parents reminding them that should their child be found breaching legislation again they risk a £200 fixed penalty notice (FPN).
Inspector Scott Little, who leads the Corby and Kettering Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We know it’s half term and young people will be desperate for a taste of freedom, but times are not normal so they cannot socialise as they would like to.
“It’s tough for everyone right now, but the expectation is that children remain at home during the holidays, and only exercise within lockdown rules. We don’t want groups congregating in parks and skate parks so we are reminding parents that in certain circumstances they can be given a ticket for their child breaching Covid-19 legislation.
“We would much rather speak to parents so they understand the need to control what their children are doing, but we will act where we have to.”
In the week to February 15, Corby had 383.6 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people, well above the national average of 149.7 for the same period.
With infection rates falling more slowly than elsewhere, increased police patrols are taking place in the town to ensure people of all ages are abiding by lockdown rules.
Inspector Little said: “We are in a public health emergency and we all need to act responsibly – the Corby statistics show this is more important now than ever.
“We want the public to be aware of why the Corby infection rate is so high, so we are asking people to be robust about following the regulations and legislation around meeting people outside their household or support bubble.”
He added that if families arrive at public recreation facilities and find it is too busy to follow social distancing, they should come back at a quieter time, or find another way to exercise. Local authority closures of facilities should also be respected.
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council added: “Every unnecessary interaction poses a potential risk to another person, and that could result in a vulnerable person becoming severely ill or dying. We are working hard to maintain a reduction in case rates across the county, so that when lockdown restrictions are removed, we are able to return to a more normal way of life.
“Every action that bends the guidance now, increases the likelihood of transmission, puts more people at risk, increases our case rates and puts more doubt on our ability to reduce restrictions in Northamptonshire in the coming weeks.”