HEREFORDSHIRE’S police chief is pleased with how people have been behaving during the third national coronavirus lockdown, despite the need to enforce some laws.

Superintendent Edd Williams, who is responsible for all policing in Herefordshire, only started in the job at the beginning of January, around the time when England was plunged into another lockdown.

But he has praised the majority of people in Herefordshire for their compliance with the lockdown rules, which if not followed can lead to a range of fines.

“It’s really encouraging that infection rates are going in the right way locally. We’ve made some significant progress over the last six or seven weeks as we’ve lived through lockdown,” he said.

“Certainly, the majority of the public have stepped up, realised the reason why we’re doing it, and followed the rules. We have seen some enforcement activity as you’d expect.”

When officers come across lockdown rule-breakers, they follow national police guidance of engaging, explaining, encouraging and then enforcing laws.

Superintendent Williams, who lives locally, added: “We’ve seen really good compliance across Herefordshire. We have done some fixed penalty tickets across Herefordshire where we’ve come across an enforcement, but generally compliance has been really positive.

Ledbury Reporter: Police in Hereford during the first lockdown Police in Hereford during the first lockdown

“Cycling to work on a daily basis the roads are quieter. There are more exemptions this time compared with last March and April, which is understandable when we didn’t have support bubbles in March and April last year when do now.

“People are understanding and accepting of the position we’re in, and I think that’s evident in the infection rate. What we’re continuing to do is testament to the people of Herefordshire.

"No one wants to live their lives in a Covid-restricted environment, but the more we stick to the rules, the more we can stay at home, the more we can keep those infection rates down, and the sooner we can come back to some sort of normality.”

The superintendent, who also coordinates the police’s response in partnership with the council, public health and other partners, described the last 12 months as “unique”, but said was “very proud” of how everyone has worked well together.

He said that even though much of the last year has been dominated by coronavirus, “policing doesn’t stop” and the officers have still been responding to high-harm incidents.

Priorities for the police in Herefordshire, other than coronavirus, include supporting domestic abuse victims, road safety and the wellbeing of people in the county.

He said: “We have continued to tackle domestic abuse. I’d encourage anybody who is suffering domestic abuse to make contact with us. We will always be here for you.

“We continue to police our roads; we have a priority of making sure our roads stay safe, ensuring we minimise harm that happens on our roads.

“Unfortunately, we have had a number of road traffic collisions, and we continue to work closely with our local parish councils and safer neighbourhood teams in areas where we know speed enforcement is effective.

“We also recognise it’s been a really difficult time for some members of the public, so we’ve responded to some concerns for welfare incidents regarding individuals’ mental health, and we make sure we provide an effective response in that time of need.

“Then we support and signpost those individuals to the right organisations, working closely with our partners in public health to ensure that any harm is minimised and any support packages are put in place.”