32 students from the University of Essex fined for breaking Covid rules
PUBLISHED: 10:17 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:39 12 October 2020
More than 30 students at the University of Essex have been issued with fines for breaking Covid-19 regulations after police attended house parties in Colchester.
32 students were fined for breaking the rule of six over the weekend after patrols were stepped up to target those persistently flouting the law.
On Friday night officers found a group of seven people congregating in a car park at the university, all of whom were issued with £200 fixed penalty notices.
On Saturday evening, officers were called to two house parties in Albany Road, Colchester, both of which had eight people inside and were all issued with fines.
During a foot patrol on the campus on Saturday night, officers also came across nine students from different accommodation who were congregating in a courtyard and they were also issued with fixed penalty notices.
Essex Police has been working closely with staff at the Colchester campus to support them in engaging with students to make sure they understand and follow the current restrictions.
The majority of students have listened and followed the current guidelines, however a small minority continued to break the rules.
Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston, District Commander for Colchester, said: “We have worked really closely with the University of Essex to support them in explaining the current restrictions to their students around the rule of six.
“Our approach is always to explain and engage with people first around the current Covid-19 regulations, as we want to give people the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to do the right thing and stop the spread of the virus.
“However, as we have always said, where people repeatedly flout the rules, we will take enforcement action. Sadly, this turned out to be the case over the weekend where, during our patrols, we found groups meeting up, and in two cases having house parties.
“We don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but we all have a legal and ethical responsibility to stop the spread of the virus, protect each other, our communities and the NHS.
“In cases where people do not listen to us and selfishly flout the rules repeatedly, they can expect that we will deal with them by taking enforcement action.
“Ultimately we all want the same thing – to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to see police officers doing what they do best, protecting victims and the vulnerable and catching criminals, so please help us do that by following the rules.”
Vanessa Potter, director of external relations at the University of Essex said: “The university is committed to the health and wellbeing of our students and the wider community.
“At this challenging time, we have made clear that all students must comply with Covid regulations, and we are really proud that they are almost all taking this seriously and doing so.
“We were made aware of a few who were not, and so we asked the police to support us in managing these cases.
“This is not about stopping people having fun. It is about protecting the wider student population, our staff and the community. We continue to work in partnership with our students and Essex Police to ensure we keep everyone safe.”
Fixed penalty notices of £200 can be issued to those caught taking part in gatherings of more than six people. this will reduce to £100 if paid within 28 days.
For persistent offenders, the fixed penalty amount doubles for each subsequent offence. Those caught organising an unlawful gathering can face a fine of £10,000.
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