ACT Policing supporting COVID 19 directions

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ACT Policing is asking Canberrans to stay home and follow COVID-19 directions.

The situation has changed rapidly in the past few weeks, and ACT Policing has been progressively acting and responding to the new health measures.

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Ray Johnson said ACT Policing was one part of Canberra’s whole-of-government response to addressing COVID-19.

“ACT Policing is partnering with several ACT Government agencies to educate people about their responsibilities and encourage them to comply,” Chief Police Officer Johnson said.

“Our message is clear –if you have no reason to go out, don’t go out.

“If you’re asking the question ‘is what I’m doing compliant?’, then you’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking ‘is what I’m doing safe for the people I love?’.

“We should all be doing the right thing by each other and staying home where possible.

“ACT’s response to compliance measures with the COVID-19 directions remains a staged one – we want to educate first before we move to warnings and fines.”

People should only be leaving their homes to buy food, travel to work, exercise or for medical or caring purposes.

“If you are outside and police suspect you may not be complying with the directions, our officers may have a conversation with you to find out the reasons why you are not at home,” Chief Police Officer Johnson said.

“We do not want to see large groups of people together around the lake or in Canberra’s parks.

“Although you can’t be in large groups, for now it’s OK to go outside by yourself or with someone from your household. Do not to stop and chat to friends if you see them, and if passing others, keep a distance.

“If you don’t follow the directions, you not only risk enforcement you are risking someone’s life.

“Now is the time to support each other, and be kind and considerate during this uncertain time.”

People who are in quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days could expect a visit from government authorities. Under direction from ACT Health, ACT Policing has been conducting spot checks of people self-isolating at home.

“To date our checks have not identified any issues and I would like to thank those Canberrans for doing the right thing,” Chief Police Officer Johnson said.

“Our frontline officers are doing all they can to support those in the frontline at our hospitals and health centres.

“While most people in our community are doing the right thing, I am concerned that some aren’t taking the compliance measures seriously.

“Unfortunately, just a few days ago two people’s words and actions saw them charged for acts to cause public alarm.

“I urge people to follow the rules and think before they act. Your safety and the safety at the entire community should be at front of mind.”

The public should call ACT Policing on 131 444 if they believe a crime has been committed or Emergency Triple Zero (000) in a life-threatening situation.

Media enquiries

Police Media — (02) 5126 9070, act-police-media@afp.gov.au