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Coronavirus: Park police patrol shows public heeding lockdown advice

PUBLISHED: 17:19 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 10 April 2020

People out cycling and exercising in Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

People out cycling and exercising in Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

People are heeding warnings to stay at home this Easter weekend to stop the spread of coronavirus if a patrol of one of Norwich’s most popular parks is anything to go by.

PC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Government warnings to stay at home have been reinforced by Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey who has urged the people of Norfolk to stay at home to help save lives and relieve pressure on the NHS who are on the frontline of the war against the Covid-19 virus.

Despite the glorious sunshine which covered Norwich on Friday (April 10) and police in Norfolk last weekend having received 350 calls from members of the public reporting people ignoring the coronavirus lockdown, it seems as if the warnings were being listened to.

Eaton Park which is normally a hive of activity, particularly at weekends when ordinarily hundreds of runners would take part in the popular weekly parkrun event, it was eerily quiet with just small handfuls of people dotted about.

PC Pete Baitey and PC Tash Snelling, from Earlham Police Station, carried out a patrol of the park to ensure people were adhering to the stay at home advice and not flouting social distancing guidelines.

PC Tash Snelling during her patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPC Tash Snelling during her patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The officers spoke to the handful of runners, dog walkers ad families they saw out and about in the park, although there was no need for any enforcement action.

“What are you up to,” PC Baitey asked one man. “Doing some exercise”, was the reply from 24-year-old Tom Jackson who was out with his girlfriend Ellie Leech, also 24, as they do not have a garden in their flat at the old hospital site.

He said: “We normally get out for about an hour and go back. It’s been difficult. We’ve got a little three bedroom flat. We don’t have an outside.”

They were one of a number of couples the officers spoke to in order to check they were okay.

PC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPC Peter Baitey chats one couple out exercising during his patrol of Eaton Park yesterday (Good Friday) as the police make sure the public are social distancing properly over the Easter period, during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

PC Baitey said at the start of the lockdown he encountered a couple of people who “didn’t want to stay 2m apart” but other than that insisted people had been compliant and friendly.

PC Snelling said: “We’ve had the odd breach but there’s been nothing too bad. We understand it’s not easy but everyone’s in the same boat.”

She added: “It does bring people closer together.”

In terms of the potential threat posed by those who threaten to cough at officers, PC Baitey said he did not think “it’s something that has come to the fore too much in Norfolk.”


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