Lancashire Police chief vents frustration over 'hundreds' of weekend lockdown breaches
Hundreds of lockdown breaches were reported across Lancashire over the weekend, as the county's hospitals struggle to cope with a surge in Covid patients.
DCC Terry Woods of Lancashire Police took to Twitter on Sunday evening (January 10) to vent his frustration at the number of "blatant COVID breaches" reported to the force during the first weekend of the third national lockdown.
Appearing to despair at the casual flouting of lockdown restrictions in the county, the police chief said pubs and gym owners had been among those involved in the breaches.
He said: "Sadly busy weekend concerning blatant COVID breaches. Hundreds of incidents reported by the public.
"Reports of pubs, a gym & even someone filming staff at testing centre. Summary- not enough people staying home, some stretching excuses meanwhile NHS & public services are creaking folks
"Local hospitals are full & people are dying-all we’re after is people stay at home as much as poss.
"In the real world we’re not dealing with people at the end of their lives - it’s those who want to be out with their mates."
Lancashire Police has been approached for more detail on the alleged breaches.
New data published on Friday revealed that Lancashire Police had handed out more than 1,500 lockdown fines since last March - the fourth highest of England's 43 police forces.
On Saturday, DCC Terry Woods warned the Lancashire public that his officers would not "shy away from enforcing Covid rules".
Speaking to the Lancashire Post, he said officers will be using their discretion and "decent" people need not worry, but they won't be shying away from fining blatant and repeat offenders.
"Lots of people have been asking me about how tough we're going to be", said DCC Woods.
"I had a really good kick about with the senior team when it was announced that rules were changing. Me and the Chief (Constable) have, from very early on in the pandemic, tried to be as consistent as possible for the staff and the public.
"But the reassurance message we want to get out is that we are not going to over or under-react to anything."
DCC Woods said most of the enforcement that has taken place since March 2020 has been as a result of tip-offs from the public, with house parties the main problem.
You can read the Post's full interview with DCC Terry Woods here.
According to the latest available data from Public Health England (last updated Tuesday, January 5), there are 'currently' 124 Covid-19 patients in Royal Preston Hospital, with one patient on ventilation.
The same data source says a total of 2,274 people have been admitted to Royal Preston Hospital for Covid treatment up to Sunday, January 3.
At Blackpool Victoria Hospital, the latest available figures (again, last updated Tuesday, January 5) show 110 people are currently receiving treatment for Covid-19, with 8 patients on ventilation,
There had been a total number of 3,005 patients admitted to Blackpool Vic during the pandemic, as of Sunday, January 3.
In East Lancs hospitals, a total of 2,964 people have been admitted for treatment since the pandemic began, with 243 patients 'currently' in hospital as of the last update on Tuesday, January 3. Of these, 31 patients were on ventilation.
You can view the Public Health England data here.
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