THE public has been thanked for staying home and complying with coronavirus restrictions by Dorset Police.

Throughout the week the Force has continued to monitor plans to protest in Bournemouth on Saturday, January 16.

Just last weekend, officers were tasked to the town centre to deal with a number of protestors walking round in smaller groups and then coming together in a ‘flash mob’ style.

They disrupted and dispersed the groups and handed out fixed penalty notices, section 35 dispersal orders and made three arrests.  

As on previous occasions, efforts were made to engage with the organisers this week to prevent another protest from taking place.

Individuals were informed they could face action if they deliberately defied coronavirus regulations.

Assistant chief constable Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “I am really grateful to those individuals who have previously been involved in protest activity in the town for doing the right thing this weekend. 

“A robust policing plan was in place to ensure that public safety was maintained, however we are thankful that they followed our advice not to protest and stayed at home.  

“I fully appreciate the fact that under normal circumstances people have the right to protest under the Human Rights Act, but at this time there is no clear exemption for people to leave home to protest.

“Infection rates remain high in Dorset and our hospitals are nearing maximum capacity. Coronavirus is a deadly disease and we continue to ask everyone to play their part to prevent the spread, protect the NHS and save lives.

“Finally, I would like to thank all our officers and staff for all they do to protect our communities.

“They, along with all our emergency service colleagues, set an exemplary example of community service, selfless dedication and commitment.”