Police: We won't hesitate to use new powers to disperse mass gatherings

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, Derbyshire police are warning the public that officers "will not hesitate" to use new powers in order to break up any large gatherings.

In recent weeks, the force says certain areas of the county have seen large gatherings of people, which have constituted far more than the current legal limit of 30. 

As such, the government has made a number of changes to the rules around group gatherings outside, with ministers strengthening powers under the Health Protection Regulations 2020. 

The new rules mean that nobody can participate, or hold a gathering, of more than 30 people - unless certain exemptions apply.

Those organising such an event can be fined up to £10,000 and those attending an event liable to a £100 fixed penalty notice.

'We've seen some quite frankly unbelievable scenes' 

After a rise in mass gatherings recently, police chiefs have issued a strong message for residents and visitors that they must continue following the coronavirus measures, and that officers will be prepared to enforce the new powers at their disposal if any large gatherings occur. 

Assistant Chief Constable Kem Mehmet said: “It is my sincere hope that everyone enjoys a Bank Holiday weekend with their friends and family. 

"However, we must always be mindful of the fact that we are still battling a virus that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people. 

"Across the country we have seen some quite frankly unbelievable scenes and these new measures look to target those who are organising such events – without whom the risk would not be created.

"My message to the vast majority of people is the same as it has been over these past months – maintain social distancing, wear face coverings in situations where they are mandated and help control the spread of the virus.

"My officers will continue to engage, encourage and explain to people where they can help do their bit to protect themselves, their friends and family and their communities.

"And to those who are thinking of organising large events know that Derbyshire Constabulary will not hesitate to use these new powers in order to ensure the safety of our county." 

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