Frequently asked questions
Q: Where can I find the most up-to-date information about the government’s measures to stop the spread of Covid-19?
A: You can find the most current official information here.
Q: I’m not sure if my journey is essential. How do I check?
A: The government has published information about which journeys are essential and which are not by clicking here. Please use this official information to determine whether your journey is essential.
Q: What should I do if I get stopped?
A: Officers are out and about engaging with the public to ensure they understand and follow government advice. If an officer talks to you, do not be alarmed. They will just want to check you are outside your home for the right reasons. If you’re following the government measures, you’ll be able to continue your journey.
It would be helpful if key workers can carry work-issued passes when they are out of the home for work purposes. This is not mandatory but will make the process quicker if you are asked to provide information.
Q: How will officers enforce the law?
A: Our first approach will always be to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the measures and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. If this fails, we will enforce the law. Special legislation has been passed recently to enable police forces to fine offenders for ignoring the rules, and this approach may be used as a last resort.
Q: I saw a police vehicle drive past people who could have been breaking the rules. Why didn’t the officer stop?
A: Officers in every district of the county are on regular patrols, covering towns, cities, suburbs and rural areas to speak to people and ensure they understand and are following the government measures on ‘essential’ travel. However, police still have to respond to other incidents or make important enquiries, so they may sometimes have to prioritise these urgent matters. It is likely that other officers will encounter these individuals during their regular patrols and stop and speak to them.
Q: Are you turning a blind eye to some crimes so you can free up officers for patrols?
A: No. We are continuing to police all offences and keep North Yorkshire safe. Some specific functions, such as certain parts of an investigation, may be conducted slightly differently to prevent the spread of the virus and this will be done in a way that does not affect the outcome of the investigation.
Q: If I think someone’s breaking the government’s rules, should I report them to the police?
A: We are currently dealing with the same sort of crimes as previously, plus delivering policing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. So we’d ask members of the public to think about whether a call is necessary before contacting us. If you need to report significant issues such as parties or other large gatherings which could pose a danger to public health, you can call 101 to speak to North Yorkshire Police’s Force Control Room.
Q: I’ve been told to pay a fine. How do I know if it’s genuine?
Police officers will not make you pay cash on the spot or ask you for credit card or bank details. The police will also never issue a fixed penalty notice by text message. If you receive a text message or telephone call claiming you must pay a fine for breaking the rules, it is fraudulent. Report any suspected scams to us on 101.
If someone has come to your home or stopped you in the street claiming to be a police officer and you don’t think they are one, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, or 999 if there is a crime in progress.
Q: What are you doing to ensure the police don’t spread the virus to the public?
A: Our officers have been given specific instructions about how to do their job in the safest way possible. These instructions are approved by the government and are being followed by every police force. Officers have also been given officially-approved protective gear such as disposable gloves, and sanitising products to prevent the virus spreading through physical contact.
Q: How can police officers stay two metres away from criminals if they need to arrest them?
A: If a police officers speaks to you, they will observe a social distancing of two metres. In certain cases – for example if a criminal needs to be detained – it is simply not possible to follow the two-metre rule. For this reason police officers, like other key workers such as doctors and nurses, have been given a slightly different set of official guidelines to ensure they can continue to do their job.
Q: I’ve seen officers working in pairs. Why aren’t they working alone?
A: We’ve reviewed all our operational procedures closely to ensure they prevent the virus spreading and follow all the official guidance for police forces. In exceptional circumstances or in a small minority of roles officers may need to work in pairs and will observe the official preventative guidance they are given.
Q: My MOT has run out. What should I do?
A: MOT due-dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans have been extended by six months to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Your vehicle will be automatically given a six-month MOT exemption, extending its expiry date by six months.Your vehicle must be maintained in a roadworthy condition however. Further detailed guidance on MOTs and vehicle tax can be found here.
Q: Why are you still using safety camera vans?
A: Quieter roads have led to some motorists driving erratically – we’ve recorded speeds of more than 130mph since government measures on ‘essential’ travel began. We will not tolerate illegal driving that puts lives at risk and could tie up valuable emergency service and NHS resources.
Safety camera van operators are police staff, and are therefore classed as key workers by the government – they help us keep roads safe and enforce offending.
Q: How do I complain about, or compliment, the police?
A: Complaints and recognition about the police are handled by the Commissioner’s new independent team, to ensure fairness, for both residents and the police.