Canberrans have made more than 600 reports to ACT Policing regarding COVID-19 related incidents although no infringement notices have been issued for breaches of social distancing directions.
The ACT’s Chief Police Officer, Ray Johnson, said this showed the community has remained largely vigilant and continues to abide by the advice concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACT police officers have attended 164 call-outs for reported breaches of COVID-19 directions. A further 140 calls have been made to ACT Policing since the ACT Government’s COVID-19 helpline was set up on 8 April.
CPO Johnson said all matters had been resolved by police attendance where officers spoke to those involved to educate them about social distancing and current health directions. Everyone was cooperative with police and followed the advice.
“These experiences are new for everyone, so it is fair and right that we continue to educate people and encourage compliance first before moving to warnings and fines,” CPO Johnson said.
“I recognise Canberrans have heightened feelings about the risk of spread of COVID-19, but now is the time to show understanding and support.
“The safety of the ACT community is our primary focus, and I would encourage the community to continue to work with police together in a positive way to encourage compliance.
With Canberrans set to endure at least another month in lockdown after a National Cabinet decision to maintain the current COVID-19 suppression measures, CPO Johnson said now was not the time for complacency.
He said the current situation was a good time to think of community-based crime prevention programs like Neighbourhood Watch.
“The aim is to connect with each other and build a caring community, so together, you are aware and safe,” he said.
“I would say now is a good time if you don’t know your neighbours to put a note in their letterbox introducing yourself, who you live with and perhaps sharing contact details. The more you know, the less worried you might be about what is happening around you.
“My advice to every Canberran is to be as informed as possible about your neighbourhood and report legitimate concerns to the ACT Government and ACT Policing.”
For questions relating to the ACT Government’s COVID-19 response, including potential ACT Policing involvement, the helpline number is 6207 7244 or via an online form available here.