Lockdown rule-breakers could be thrown in police cell, warns Devon and Cornwall force

Southwest counties have seen Covid cases soar in recent weeks

Devon and Cornwall police chief warns people who break Covid rules could be thrown in cells

Devon and Cornwall’s police chief has warned people who break lockdown rules this weekend could “end up in a police cell”.  

The southwest counties – particularly Cornwall – have seen soaring rates of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, with an accompanying increase in fines handed out by officers to those flouting the national restrictions.  

But Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer suggested rule-breakers could face more severe sanctions in the coming days.  

“For the few [breaking the law], you will get a ticket and if needs be you will be arrested,” Mr Sawyer told the BBC’s Spotlight.  

“Our personal hygiene, about travelling and association, needs to sharpen up. Not because we’re law breakers, but in the first phase we were sharp. This time we’re not,” he said.  

Asked about the guidance around travelling for exercise, Mr Sawyer suggested getting in the car to travel for exercise should be “exceedingly rare” in Devon and Cornwall, which is largely rural.  

“I’m expecting too many people to get Covid-19 and die if we carry on. That’s what I’m expecting. So let’s not make that happen,” he said.

He added: “The few that breach this weekend, you are not only going to get a ticket, but I think increasingly you’re going to end up in a police cell.”

Cornwall saw 335 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to 10 January, Mid Devon saw 272, East Devon 255, West Devon 138 and North Devon 115.  

The figure for England as a whole was 591.

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