Stay home to stay safe, says top cop

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ACT chief police officer Ray Johnson.

TOP cop Ray Johnson has a message for the Canberra community: “If you have no reason to go out, don’t go out.”

The ACT chief police officer and his force are now empowered to fine people for being the company of more than one other person from their household (other than immediate, household family groups).

“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?’,” he said.

“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,” he 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 okay 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, police have 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.

“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.”



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