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Police boss 'most people have been brilliant but not all'

Avon and Somerset's Police Commissioner say she's "appalled" officers were coughed at over the weekend - including at a house party in Bridgwater, which is still being investigated.

It comes as the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called for police to adopt a ‘proportionate’ attitude, but said he's so far not had any complaints about the local policing approach. 

A 26 year old woman was arrested in connection with the incident in Bridgwater. 

Police Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "I think it is very important that we thank the vast vast majority of people who have just been brilliant.

"I have driven into work today and there are so few people on the roads - and I know this is really tough because are having to change all their behaviours, whether that's inside their home with their families or with family and friends. I would like to do a massive thank you.

"To those who think they are invincible, to those who think this doesn't apply I would just suggest that you think about the big picture.

"Think about your family, your friends, think about the NHS.

"Think about what we are trying to protect - we are trying to keep you all alive.

"I was appalled to hear the officers having been assaulted in this way.

"The director of public prosecutions has made it very clear that this is a crime. if you get taken to court you could sentenced for six to 12 months - someone, somewhere else in the country has been convicted of such.

"It is amazing, a these really challenging times, that people feel it is justifiable to cough over police officers, they are doing their very best.

"Please, if you are thinking of getting together and the police suggest it is not a great thing to do, then please take note of what we are trying to say.

Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called for police to adopt a ‘proportionate’ attitude when applying regulations on social distancing and isolation during the coronavirus emergency.

But equally, he said, the public had to 'accept that enhanced police powers were an essential part of the strategy the Government had adopted in the face of a huge medical emergency'.

In other parts of the country police forces have been criticised for using drones to spy on ramblers and for ordering shops to stop selling ‘non-essential’ Easter eggs.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger said he had so far received no complaints about police activity locally.

He said: “Everyone has to recognise the fact that during the current emergency police have been given far more wide-ranging powers than they normally wield. 

"But I want to see the proportionate use of those powers rather than any kind of over-zealous application.

“The other side of the coin is that the public must accept, however uncomfortable they might feel about it, that the police have been given those powers for a very good reason – and that is that they are all part of the Government’s plan for combating the spread of this highly unpleasant and potentially fatal virus.

“Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures, and those measures have been put in place to protect particularly the elderly and the vulnerable.

“Those additional powers will only be available to police as long as the emergency lasts but their use is, indirectly, designed to ensure that its duration is as short as possible.”

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