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RGP urges community to follow lockdown rules

The Royal Gibraltar Police has called on the community to abide by the social lockdown that comes into force at 12.01am, warning that it will enforce the rules “robustly” if need be.

In a video statement, Commissioner of Police Ian McGrail underlined the public health reasons for the lockdown and praised people who had already been following it voluntarily for the past week.

He said he and his officers wanted to avoid confrontation at a difficult time when tempers were frayed. But he cautioned too that the lockdown had to be followed.

“In the normal course of events we are a non-confrontational force, and do not apply heavy handedness unless we absolutely have to,” he said.

“However, let no one doubt that in the current public health emergency, we will act robustly against any person who is seen to be deliberately flouting the social lockdown that comes into effect at midnight.”

“I would also like to advise the public to refrain from venting their frustration at police officers and other essential workers carrying out their crucial work in the front line battle against the virus.”

“We understand that these are extremely abnormal and difficult times for everyone in the community but I trust that common sense will prevail and that our interventions will be reduced to a minimum.”

Mr McGrail urged people not to abuse the exemptions provided for in the rules, for example on exercise and leaving the house for essential shopping.

He urged people to exercise alone and to return promptly to their residence after any excursion.

And he reminded the community too that supply chains were unaffected and there was thus no need to panic buy.

He urged people in lockdown to be conscious of inevitable frustrations arising from the situation, adding that the RGP would continue to respond “forcefully” to incidents of domestic violence.

“I would like to conclude by reiterating my heartfelt entreaty to the community’s positive spirit, the best examples of which are already manifesting themselves in balconies, on social media, and in the solidarity that flows in all directions during these testing times,” he said.

“Use these weeks and perhaps months of confinement to cement good neighbourly relations through virtual means and bond with friends and family through the technology that we have at our disposal.”