And the patrols have been out in central areas of Peterborough where there is the highest density of people, with officers taking in the area around the Stagecoach bus depot in Lincoln Road on Thursday.
Rob Hill, Peterborough City Council’s chair of the multi-agency rapid response team for Peterborough, said: “At last week’s Peterborough summit we committed to a number of different actions to work with our communities in the central area of Peterborough to try and reduce the spread of the virus.
“One of those actions was to introduce daily visible council and police patrols across the city in areas of high footfall such as the city centre and Millfield and New England areas.
“These patrols began this week and officers have been offering advice on national guidelines, including mask wearing and social distancing.
“Cases of coronavirus in Peterborough are increasing and it is critical that people follow the guidance and don’t throw away all the good work that has taken place up until now to keep rates of the virus down. If we all follow the rules then we can reduce its spread and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
DCI Dan Quigley, head of Neighbourhood Policing in Peterborough, added: “We have been engaging with the public who have been very receptive and understand the importance of the messaging we are conveying.
“Preventing the spread of the virus is vital and we will be doing our utmost to engage with the public, encourage them to adhere to the government guidance and explain the importance of doing so.
“Enforcement of legislation will always be a last resort, but such is the importance of minimising the spread of the virus we will use our enforcement powers where our policy of engage, encourage and explain is not working effectively.”
It was announced during last Friday’s summit that there would be a new four-pronged approach from this week to prevent the city from following other areas of the country with similar demographics in seeing a large spike in cases.
This includes a commitment from Cambridgeshire police of an average of four hours every day to join “very visible” patrols alongside council officers.
Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and partnerships at the city council, said there will be a “full range of activity” which will include enforcement.
The four-pronged approach centres on:
. Business engagement – to make sure they are following the rules after “loads of comments” were raised about a lack of compliance
, A continued effort on changing public behaviour to make sure people abide by the latest rules
. A targeted communications campaign to make sure all communities understand the latest guidance
. Ensuring anyone who needs a test can get one as locally as possible so there are “absolutely no excuses” for people not to self-isolate if they are required to.
The patrols wearing high-viz jackets will spend more time tackling parking and housing enforcement, with Mr Chapman saying during the summit: “If people park badly and in a condensed space it leads to crowds of people gathering and it leads to a general sense of unrest and disorganisation.”
The patrols, he added, will give people a sense of “reassurance,” will provide advice to the public and will “look out for any breaking of the rules so we can ensure there is enforcement that follows”.
There will also be days of action, including from trading standards and licensing teams, as well as work with transport providers to make sure they know the rules.
Moreover, the city council will “fill in the gaps” for people who are told to self-isolate but are not eligible for a £500 grant from the Government to cover lost earnings.
Mr Chapman added: “We want there to be no excuse for anyone in the city not to self-isolate”.