Random cars to be stopped by Merseyside Police in new crackdown

Merseyside Police is set to begin stopping cars to make sure drivers are sticking to lockdown rules.

Officers will carry out random checks to see why people are using the region's roads while Government advice to limit all travel remains in place.

The move comes amid concern some are ignoring restrictions designed to limit the spread of coronavirus – with the force having even received reports of lockdown house parties.

Merseyside Police's chief constable, Andy Cooke, has said people will only be prosecuted under new coronavirus legislation as a last resort.

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And in an appeal released today, the force said most people are complying with social distancing measures and leaving their homes only when essential.

But officers are set to ask more questions of those they believe could be flouting restrictions.

The force said: "This week we have seen indications that people are starting to ignore the advice. The roads are busier and there have been higher numbers of people out enjoying the good weather.

Police were called to Darrel Drive in Wavertree to reports of a house party

"In a couple of instances we have also been made aware of people having parties in their home, which goes against the social distancing guidelines and is not an essential activity."

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One such complaint saw officers attend a home in Wavertree on Monday evening. No-one was arrested over the report.

As a result of those concerns, the force said it will be carrying out "ad hoc stops" to "check that motorists are making essential journeys," while officers on foot patrol will enquire whether those out walking are abiding by the lockdown restrictions.

Superintendent Paddy Kelly said: “We appreciate this is a bank holiday weekend and normally a time when people are going on holiday or when friends and families gather together and socialise but these are extraordinary and challenging times and everyone needs to abide by the rules in order to keep loved ones safe.

“The government has instructed everyone that they should stay at home unless making an essential journey.

"That means people should not be going out on day trips, rides out in the car to the beach or local beauty spot, or having BBQ’s or parties with other people, apart from those living in their own households.

“The restrictions have been in place for more than two weeks now and we understand that people will be getting fed up, but remember why the restrictions are in place and use the time at home to do things together as a family.

“Merseyside Police has taken a fair and common sense approach so far. Our officers have been out and about in local communities engaging with the public but if people are persistently flouting the restrictions and not listening to advice we will have to use the powers that have been given to us.

“Please work with us. These are unprecedented and challenging times for all of us, but we all have loved ones and we need to think about them and understand the danger we are putting ourselves, and our loved ones, in if we won’t stop the spread of this virus.”

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