MOST people in Essex are following strict instructions to stay home... but 800 people have needed to be reminded their outdoor trips are not necessary, according to Essex’s top police officer

Ben-Julian BJ Harrington, chief constable of Essex Police, thanked the majority of the county’s residents for observing the rules, even after a weekend which saw temperatures touch 20 degrees.

He said: “I think people do understand the rules and these are straight forward.

“By my experience and that of my officers, largely people have been compliant with this and understand why they must stay at home.

“My officers have had to talk to some people who then obliged and followed the advice, there’s been about 800 people who realised what they were doing perhaps was not essential.

“We’ve had a handful of incidents where we had to take enforcement action. Two people were arrested but it’s likely they would have been arrested anyway for behaviour not connected to the Covid-19 guidelines.”

The police boss added: “There’s been half a dozen incidents where fines and enforcement were necessary. This lack of incidents is down to the good sense of the people of Essex.

“Some people had questions for our officers about what they can be doing. I think most people know and realise what feels unnecessary is not essential. I think most people are making their own right judgements about this situation. I want to thank people who do not have an outside space but are acting responsibility. For those who have children it’s a real challenge.”

Chief Constable Harrington also thanked parents who are following the rules set by the Government despite their little ones itching to get out.

He said those who abide by the rules also help emergency services deal with the usual crime-related incidents.

He said: “We had one incident with domestic abuse, so these incidents do not go away. We are able to do the jobs we should be doing as people are staying home.

“I am pleased we are not making hundreds of arrests of handing out thousands of fines and pleased to see our county is staying home.”