As we find ourselves back in a national lockdown, I wanted to use this opportunity to outline the police’s approach to enforcing these new, tougher restrictions.

Firstly I wanted to thank you all for your overwhelming cooperation over Christmas and New Year.

The festive period is traditionally very busy for the emergency services and this year we prepared ourselves for the possibility that our resources could be even more stretched than normal. There was concern that people might go out of their way to deliberately breach the rules, that they would gather in large groups in defiance of the Government’s restrictions.

However, despite the fact that police forces in other parts of the country did see this type of activity, we did not in Swindon. Generally, people listened to the Government’s messaging and limited their interactions with others, marking the festive period largely at home with members of their household.

All of this has given me great hope that our communities will once again step up to ensure this new national lockdown is successful in reducing the spread of Covid-19.

I know that the coming weeks and even months will be tough, and I don’t underestimate the impact these restrictions will have on so many of you. The closure of schools will be particularly difficult, not only for our children and young people who will miss the social and educational benefits of the classroom, but also for parents who will find themselves having to juggle home-schooling and work.

There will also be many of you facing financial uncertainty or social isolation and loneliness.

But, the Prime Minister has made it clear that this drastic action is needed to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed and stop the spread of the new strain of the virus. That is why, although we will continue to police with consent and in a proportionate way, my officers will move to enforcement much quicker when confronted with people clearly breaching the rules.

Up until now, police forces have focused on engagement, reinforcing the messaging within our communities and encouraging the public to comply in the first instance, only reverting to enforcement when we are faced with deliberate or repeated breaches.

We will continue to engage with our communities but my officers will quickly move to enforcement against those who are flagrantly breaching the rules. We all want this national lockdown to be effective and to bring the virus under control as quickly as possible, so the restrictions can be relaxed once again. It is your responsibility to make sure you understand the rules and the limited reasons why you are allowed to leave your home, so please go to to read the full details about possible exemptions, relating to work and education, as well as support and childcare bubbles.

Once again we are being called on to all do our bit and I am confident we can pull together to invoke the sense of community and duty that we had back in March.

So, the message is clear – Stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.