Council and police step up Covid enforcement in North Devon
- Credit: NDC
North Devon Council is teaming up with local police to step up enforcement of Covid-19 breaches.
The government is urging local authorities and police forces to use the powers available to crack down on those who are not social distancing, travelling unnecessarily or continuing to run a business that should be closed.
The police will accompany council officers on inspections of holiday homes and extra NDC staff are being diverted into the authority's Covid enforcement team.
The council is also working closely with the Health and Safety Executive's Spot Check initiative and 340 local businesses have already been approached to check they are Covid-secure.
Council Leader Cllr David Worden said: "The vast majority of local people are abiding by the rules but there are still a minority who are posing a huge risk to others by not taking the measures that are needed to prevent the spread of this killer virus.
“We only ever carry out enforcement as a last resort but some people have left us with no choice so now is the time to step up our efforts to protect the rest of the community."
The council has said it will take a four-strand approach, acting on reports of breaches of regulations and virus outbreaks.
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It will use any tip offs to identify potential rule breaking such as advertising holiday lets.
It will inspect high risk areas such as supermarkets, offices and showrooms and it will carry out checks on temporary accommodation to ensure vulnerable people are okay.
Local Policing Area Commander for North and West Devon, Superintendent Toby Davies added: "We recognise this has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone and the community response in helping to stop the spread of this cruel virus is hugely appreciated. “Whilst most adhere to the rules, disappointingly we continue to see a minority who blatantly disregard the rules, and risk further spread of the virus.
"We have invested a considerable amount of time and energy helping to engage, explain and educate - and people have had plenty of time to fully understand the rules.
“As such, those who continue to blatantly breach the rules, do so knowingly, and can expect robust formal action.”