Coronavirus response – Update – 21 April 2020

Leaders of North Yorkshire’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic will give an update on the work they are doing, and take questions from residents and businesses.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will lead the live update and will be joined by:

  • Chief Constable Lisa Winward – North Yorkshire Police
  • Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie – North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Members of the public are invited to watch the meeting from 1.00pm on Tuesday on YouTube and submit questions in advance by emailing info@northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk, posting on Twitter using the hashtag #NYScrutiny or commenting on Facebook. Not all questions will be able to be used, but they will inform the Commissioner’s questioning and the general discussion.

Julia Mulligan has decided in these uncertain times that there should be a regular update on the Coronavirus response direct to residents and businesses, and this is the third of those broadcasts.

These updates replace the regular public accountability meetings which are an opportunity to ensure the police and fire service are performing as well as possible to keep North Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.

Agenda

  • Police – operational response update
  • Fire – operational response update
  • Police hot topic – Criminal justice
  • Fire hot topic – Nightingale hospital preparations
  • Any other business

Public questions

Essential travel

“There has been no relaxation in the rules.”
North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lisa Winward and Police, Fire and Crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan explain how North Yorkshire Police are policing ‘essential travel’

Question 1

Graham Shaw – Facebook
Can you please explain why you can go out on a pushbike for a ride for a couple of hours during lockdown but you can’t go out for a ride on a motorcycle.

Answer

Graham
Push bike cycling is deemed to be a form of exercise that is good for health and wellbeing, whereas, motorcycling is not deemed to be a form of exercise. You can use your motorcycle as a form of transport to undertake essential business (shopping, medical appointments etc) in the same way as a car can be used. To go for long rides on your motorbike is not acceptable.

Push bike cyclists should also not be going excessive distances from home. They should be staying local when they exercise to avoid spreading the virus into other areas and putting residents at risk.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 2

Clive Matthews @hexhome – Twitter
#NYscrutiny J Mulligan made a public statement expressing villagers fears re cyclists. Since that statement I and others have had threatening close passes. Most cyclists are cycling to essential jobs, shopping or taking local exercise. Will she make a statement to address this?

Answer

Clive
Julia was referring to cyclists or groups of cyclists like those she mentioned on today’s update who were undertaking their one form of daily exercise but stopping for picnics in small villages. This was based on feedback from residents who had experienced the activity.

As Julia made clear today as well, any cyclist who receives abuse or who is put in danger should report this as a matter to the police as well. If cyclists use headcams, video evidence is always helpful to the police.

Question 3

Dr Richard Turner – Email
Could you explain why many towns and villages in the county are subject to a comprehensive lockdown despite having had no cases of Covid-19 infection at all ? Many have very few people going either in or out of the locality at the moment.

Answer

Dr Richard Turner

The government advice of stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives is in place to prevent the spread of the virus. This is as relevant to people moving from infected areas into non-infected areas as it is to those in non-infected areas moving around and coming into contact with the virus and potentially carrying the virus back home.

Therefore, hopefully the restrictions have assisted in preventing the virus being brought to your village as a result of restricting the movement of people travelling there who may have the infection and stopping anyone from your village picking up the virus elsewhere.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 4

Neil Simon- Facebook
My question is why is lisa winward not respecting the lockdownand making un necessary journeys…including to skipton…where ms mulligan lives?

Answer

Neil

As a warranted police officer and leader in the police service it is absolutely reasonable and necessary for the Chief Constable to continue to provide a service to her officers and our communities through her role.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward has travelled to many locations across the county in order to do this, Whitby, York, Harrogate, and this week she is going to Selby.

This complies with the need to travel to fulfil her job as this cannot be done from home.

Question 5

Email – Lee Challenor-Chadwick
We live in Markington but our allotment is at Oatlands Harrogate, about 9 miles away.  Is it OK for me and my wife to travel there (and back)?

Answer

Lee

Every individual case is different and officers and staff will consider whether someone’s journey is proportionate and necessary and meets the government guidance and health advice is to stay at home unless you need to undertake essential activities such as shopping, exercise, medical appointments or to travel to work if you cannot work at home.

Therefore, if your journey meets these criteria it will be deemed to be in line with the guidance.

The National Allotment Society also has advice: https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 6

Email – Paul & Gill Dean
We are a married couple in our seventies. As part of our daily exercise are we allowed to play table tennis occasionally on the outdoor tables in Rowntree park?  Also, would we be ok to practice Croquet on little Knavesmire?  These are the two sports we normally play to keep ourselves fit.

Answer

Paul and Gill

Every individual case is different and officers and staff will consider whether someone’s journey is proportionate and necessary and meets the government guidance and health advice is to stay at home unless you need to undertake essential activities such as shopping, exercise, medical appointments or to travel to work if you cannot work at home.

Therefore, if your journey meets these criteria it will be deemed to be in line with the guidance.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 7

Email – Mr Freeman
Can I travel to self isolate in a place I have been offered rent free in East Devon?

Answer

Mr Freeman

If you can self isolate in the home you are in now then travelling to another location such as this would not be deemed to be an essential journey as per the guidelines or legislation.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 8

Email
Some of our neighbours seem to think the rules don’t apply to them, often have visitors and regularly as a family go away for the day in the car.
Really stuck between reporting them; but to who?; and trying not to be a nosy neighbour and keeping nose out of other people’s business!

Answer

The guidance is to stay at home but it is not illegal to have other people in your house which is a private place.

If your neighbours are regularly going out making non essential journeys then they could be stopped by the police who will evaluate whether their journey is essential and falls within the governments guidelines.

The people travelling to their home address to visit could also be considered as not making essential journeys but again it would depend upon their reasons in line with the guidance.

North Yorkshire Police are currently dealing with the same sort of crimes as previously, plus delivering policing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. So they are asking members of the public to think about whether a call is necessary before contacting them. 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.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 9

Email – Christine Thompson
Is there any possibility of you being able to announce some precautionary message about folk acting responsibly when driving to their exercise, please? We are already experiencing silly behaviour around Helmsley over farmland etc after last night’s relaxation of the ruling. People have been SO good these last two weeks and it is far too early for this to happen???

Answer

Christine

There has been no relaxation of the rules. The advice is to stay at home.

People traveling unnecessarily will be stopped and turned around by the police where possible. NYP have put out communications to that effect. People committing motoring offences will still be dealt with under existing road traffic legislation if their behaviour does not meet the required driving standards.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 10

Email – Nicholas Eleanor
Yesterday, a member of my household returned to the car to find a ‘Please refrain from visiting this location’ notice on the windscreen.  The notice is coded NYP20-0048.  The location was Yearsley Moor.

This notice is inconsistent with public announcements from ministers and contradicts the NPCC/College of Policing notice ‘What constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live’.  That notice contains advice from the CPS as to what might constitute a ‘reasonable excuse’. Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving) is stated to be likely to be reasonable. A five minute single drive followed by 45 minutes’ walk and then a return drive fit within that description.

This notice should not be used in its present form and should be withdrawn. Whoever is placing them on vehicles at Yearsley Moor should be redeployed on more useful duties.

I look forward to hearing what action the Chief Constable will take.

Answer

Nicholas

Police forces work closely with criminal justice partners, such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and therefore, the advice of the CPS was shared with the police service so that we could consider it as part of our approach.

There is no change to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and College of Policing guidance issued in the Policing Brief on the Government Legislation on Coronavirus which can be found at https://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Pages/Health-Protection-Guidelines.aspx .  This remains the core guidance for police officers.

On driving to exercise, as you rightly point out, there is nothing in the legislation that prevents people from driving to exercise, however, police forces and the Government have rightly continued to advise the public not to travel for exercise.

Our officers and staff will continue to use discretion and judgement in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘necessary’ and ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances being mindful of the purpose of the regulations are to prevent the transmission of infection. These powers are about keeping people safe and the starting point is everyone stays at home. Our officers use their judgement every day when applying the law and this is no different. Driving for several hours to exercise when not necessary would not be appropriate. Officers will consider all the factors when engaging with the public and continue to encourage people to stay at home. Where necessary officers will then enforce. We hope that the public will help us keep people safe by staying at home.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Question 11

Can I go to pick my new puppy up? There is an animal welfare issue for the puppy, the mother and the breeder if people are not allowed. I called the police but didn’t get a clear response.

Answer

Every individual case is different and officers and staff will consider whether someone’s journey is proportionate and necessary and meets the government guidance and health advice is to stay at home unless you need to undertake essential activities such as shopping, exercise, medical appointments or to travel to work if you cannot work at home.

If the puppy can stay where it is then that should be the case. We do have to take animal welfare into account and in serious circumstances it may be appropriate, but you must consider carefully whether your journey meets these criteria and if it will be deemed to be in line with the guidance.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home