GMP mobile billboard featuring celebrities to tour Manchester reinforcing the stay at home message

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A mobile billboard is being used by police to reinforce the stay at home message issued by the government.

GMP, starting in North Manchester this weekend, will use the vehicle across the region in coming weeks after the lockdown was extended.

It will feature celebrities and key workers.

The move comes after police were called to 1008 reports of house parties over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, held in defiance of the national coronavirus lockdown.

The large digital billboard aims to reach people while out in their gardens, exercising or visiting supermarkets to reinforce the importance of the Government message to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Featuring #StayHomeSaveLives messages and a series of short videos including key workers, local celebrities and community members, the advertising van will visit every district of Greater Manchester over the course of the next couple of weeks.

The messaging will also highlight the importance of not having people round to your house and reminding everyone of the social distancing guidelines given out by the Government.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes of Greater Manchester Police said: “As we enter our fifth week of lockdown there is a concern that people could be tempted to flout the restrictions, particularly as the warm weather is set to continue.

“It is vitally important that we all continue to play our part in the fight against this terrible virus and stay at home so that we don’t undo the work that has already taken place to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Officers continue to patrol communities but the digital advertising van provides us with an additional opportunity to ensure that our very important ‘Stay Home’ campaign is seen by as many people as possible from a safe social distance.

Picture Source: Mark Waugh

“I appreciate it is a truly difficult time for us all and our lives are very different to how they were a few weeks ago, but I’m extremely grateful to the majority of residents across Greater Manchester who are adhering to the Government restrictions.

“The kindness and support that our officers have seen while on duty has not gone unnoticed and it is very much appreciated during this period of uncertainty.”

The force says enforcement will be used as a last resort.

A GMP spokesperson said: “First and foremost these powers are about keeping people safe so the most important thing we can do is continue to urge the public to stay at home and stay safe. Do not drive to beauty spots or open spaces for exercise and only leave home where absolutely essential.

“It is important that our officers are aware of the advice given by our partners in the criminal justice system so that it can help inform their approach to incidents but this does not change our policing style. Greater Manchester Police will continue to seek to engage with the public, explain to them what the Government guidelines are and encourage them to follow them before moving to enforcement if necessary.

“It is clear that this guidance issued by our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service still requires officers to use their discretion and judgement in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances and we will continue to do that.

“We would like to once again thank the vast majority of the people of Greater Manchester who have been following these guidelines and working with us to help get through this crisis as quickly as possible. We appreciate this is an incredibly challenging time for everybody but we need to stick together by staying apart just that bit longer so that we can bring the lockdown measures to a conclusion at the earliest opportunity.”

Source: Greater Manchester News

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