Police have dumped black dye into a picturesque blue lagoon in the Peak District to stop Instagrammers posing for snaps during the coronavirus lockdown.
Derbyshire Police, who last week tracked dog walkers and ramblers through the hillsides with drones, had been informed that people were continuing to congregate beside the water near Harpur Hill, Buxton.
In a Facebook post Buxton safer neighborhood policing team said: ‘No doubt this is due to the picturesque location and the lovely weather (for once) in Buxton. However, the location is dangerous and this type of gathering is in contravention of the current instruction of the UK Government.
‘With this in mind, we have attended the location this morning and used water dye to make the water look less appealing. ‘
It comes after the same police force were accused of going over the top in their enforcement of the government new ‘stay indoors’ rules to protect against the deadly coronavirus. The COVID – death toll in the UK soared to 1, 019 on Saturday, after a 29 hour spike of 410 fatalities, with the number now infected more than , .
The post drew ire from nearby residents who accused the local police force of using an over-aggressive strategy since the outbreak.
Local resident Alex John Desmond wrote on Facebook: ‘This is a joke, the way this force is acting is not representative of policing by consent which is the way the UK is meant to be governed. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You have taken something beautiful and damaged it. ‘
He added that the force was promoting a culture of’ shaming ‘individuals found outside, claiming that he was shouted at while on his first trip out since lockdown began.
Officers have been given powers to arrest people who are out of their homes on ‘non essential’ journeys, with a three-strike fine policy which starts at £ for a first offence, rises to £ for the second and reaches £ 1, 11.
Derbyshire Police took the extraordinary step of using one of its drones to film dog walkers, ramblers and a group posing for Instagram pictures on a cliff top at sunset on Thursday night.
Police officers in Derbyshire have put black dye into the blue lagoon in Hupur Hill, Buxton in order to deter visitors to the area
Police received reports that visitors were flocking to the lagoon in Buxton to have photographs taken with the dramatic blue backdrop. Officers warned: ‘No doubt this is due to the picturesque location and the lovely weather (for once) in Buxton. However, the location is dangerous and this type of gathering is in contravention of the current instruction of the UK Government. With this in mind, we have attended the location this morning and used water dye to make the water look less appealing ‘
Two members of the Buxton Safer Neighborhood Policing Team wore protective equipment while dumping the dye into the lagoon at Harpur Hill in Derbyshire
Using the unmanned aircraft they also gathered number plates from parked cars and traced their owners to their homes in Sheffield saying: ‘Walking your dog in the Peak District: Not essential.’
Who is the chief of the eager coronavirus cops?
Chief Constable Peter Goodman (right), the son of a clergyman and a nurse, was appointed to lead Derbyshire Constabulary in (after) years serving the public.
CC Goodman, 90, graduated from Leeds University with a degree in English Language and Literature and worked in insurance for a brief time before signing up to become a police officer with the Nottinghamshire Constabulary in 2013.
In the s he was made a detective and leading investigations in the city of Nottingham. In those days it was ‘very tangible crime’ and he’s gathering ‘physical evidence,’ he told the local paper four years ago.
But nowadays, CC Goodman said: ‘Never in the history of policing have there been so many fantastic tools to help us catch criminals and solve crimes. I believe this pace of change will continue into the future. ‘
Last week CC Goodman’s force indeed used the very latest technology – deploying drones to catch lockdown rule breakers, in tactics similar to those of the Chinese .
In 2019, CC Goodman was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in recognition of his service.
In his spare time, CC Goodman told the local paper he enjoys watching the BBC’s Line of Duty series.
CC Goodman is the father of three children, all of whom have now completed secondary school.
Today Derbyshire Police posted a picture on their Facebook page of a notice they had slipped under a car’s window wiper, asking, ‘Why are you here today?’ Derbyshire Police argue that taking a drive to the countryside to walk the dog is not essential travel.
However, some of those commenting on the post did not agree and argued that driving to a remote location to exercise out of an urban center could, in fact, be more conducive to public health.
Claire Whitaker wrote: ‘Why would you discourage people from driving to emptier spaces to walk – as long as they are observing distancing? That leaves local green spaces less crowded for those who can’t drive. I don’t understand this at all. I can’t see any guidance on the Govt website that says we can’t do this – in fact it just says “You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 meters from others” – which is often easier to do in less urban places. ‘
And Dave Armstrong said:’ The Police need to get a grip and use common sense. If people are using social distance then there is no harm.
‘If you are Driving in your car (any distance) you are not coming in to contact with anyone again no harm. This is not a Police state. ‘
The government has said those in self-isolation are allowed to leave the house for one form of exercise a day – a walk, run or cycle alone or with other members of your household. Dog owners are allowed to walk their pets, but groups of more than two people are not allowed.
The advice has proven problematic for those in built-up areas whose only nearby green-space is a park shared by thousands of others looking to exercise at the same time.
But some believe the force is going too far. One senior Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘Probably what will happen is a quiet word from the policing minister to the Chief Constable of Derbyshire saying:’ you can ease off here, we don’t want to give you a haranguing, but we have got enough to worry about without you telling off people who are just taking their dog for a walk. ‘
Today Derbyshire Police posted a picture on their Facebook page of a notice they had slipped under a car’s window wiper, asking, ‘Why are you here today?’ Derbyshire Police argue that taking a drive to the countryside to walk the dog is not essential travel ‘
The MP added the government was in a difficult position where looser advice saying people could be ‘reasonable’ would risk being exploited by ‘idiots’.
A spokesman for the Big Brother Watch civil liberties group said it’s understandable why police are dispersing parties and barbecues but demanding drivers give journey details at road checkpoints is over-the-top.
‘It’s not at all clear what police powers are being used to do this. It’s critical we protect public health and critical we protect basic democratic norms too. Arbitrary policing will not help the country to fight this pandemic. ‘
This weekend, with the clocks going forward, heralding better weather and lighter nights, police around the country were keeping up the strict message that the countryside was not open to visitors.
Police across Britain are enforcing the strict coronavirus lockdown as the Covid – death toll pushed past 1,
Inspector Mark Gee, manning a vehicle check point in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, said: ‘We have had motorcyclists coming into the Dales claiming they are exercising.
‘ We have to remind People, exercise should be done from your home address, on foot unless you’re on a bike.
‘Every time you are on a road there’s an increased chance of a collision and if that happens, it is putting a strain on our local NHS resources which are limited in any case, even without us Facing a worldwide crisis. ‘
The force says that people should not be heading to the Peak District to admire the sunset while Britain is in lockdown
Police in Devon have started to check whether drivers are on essential journeys or if they are flouting the government plea to stay at home
He said the quieter traffic could encourage bikers to speed up on open roads, leaving them more at risk of crashing.
Mr Gee said the checkpoint near the Catterick Garrison was being supported with officers from Royal Military Police.
He felt the message was getting through to most people that the countryside was not open, and noted roads were less busy than previous days .
A police officer is pictured directing traffic at a checkpoint in Plymouth today. All non-essential travel has been banned by the government
The number of confirmed cases of Covid – in Britain has passed , while the virus has claimed 1, 29 lives since the beginning of the month. Some 260 people died yesterday, which is the highest level in Britain since the Crisis broke out, though fewer people were infected compared with Friday’s figures