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Article date - 09 April 2020
This year residents are being asked to continue to support the campaign, but with a new message – #Ready2Respect. As well as reporting anti-social behaviour, residents are urged to ‘respect’ distancing instructions, to support the emergency services, to know where their children are and ensure they are not meeting friends against government guidance.
Businesses are also asked to respect the guidelines set out by government asking non-essential businesses to close and not try to subvert them, after one local betting shop was found by Trading Standards to be selling bread in an attempt to be considered exempt.
Trading Standards and Licensing teams are investigating and enforcing these measures, so if you suspect a non-essential business is still operating, please report it to Trading Standards on 01744 676789.
There are still reports of anti-social behaviour, such as off-road vehicle nuisance, dog fouling in parks and streets, and grassland fires despite the social distancing measures currently in place, including the purposeful damage of Victoria Park’s wooden tiger statue. Part of the statue was found to have been vandalised with a knife or some kind of tool last week.
There are also reports of people travelling to house and garden parties, which are banned under current social distancing instructions.
Sue Forster, St Helens Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“The government’s guidance is clear and for everyone’s safety; you must stay at home. Only go out for essentials such as food and medicine, or work if you cannot work from home. Exercise at home if possible, but if you have to go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.”
Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:
“These are difficult times, and every one of us will need to pull together as a community if we are to make it through. It’s saddening to see that while so many people across St Helens are uniting, there are still those few ignoring the government’s national guidance, causing trouble and doing harm to the wonderful place we live and work in.
“Police and all community safety partners are still hard at work, so please, if you see anti-social behaviour or breaches of the current coronavirus lockdown measures, report it and we’ll sort it.”
Matt Drennan, Inspector of Community Policing said: “We will work hard to tackle anti-social behaviour in St Helens and we will take action against those who continue with this kind of behaviour, particularly at a time when we have social distancing in place to keep our communities safe.
“We will be focussing our efforts on engaging with our communities, explaining the rationale behind the government restrictions and encouraging them to stay home by reminding them that their support will help to save lives and protect the NHS.
“We have taken a common sense approach to carrying out the new legislation and all we ask is that everyone is sensible and cooperates with our officers when asked to keep away from groups of people or to return home as all we want is what is best for our communities and everyone has a part to play.
“If there are flagrant breaches then we will address this through tactical communication and the new regulations will only be used as a last resort.
“Finally, I would like to encourage people not to call 999 or 101 as we need to keep our lines clear for other emergencies at this time, if you are concerned about anti-social behaviour or you see groups of people together you can report it to us @MerPolCC or through Merseyside Police’s website www.merseyside.police.uk.”
For more information on the #Ready2Respect campaign, visit https://www.safersthelens.org.uk/pages/ready-2-respect/.