The City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Police and Wolverhampton Homes are working together to tackle incidents in which people have flouted the social distancing rules introduced by the Government to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Although the vast majority of Wulfrunians have followed the measures to the letter – and are being publicly thanked for their continuing support – a small number are not, with members of the public reporting over 150 cases of people flouting the social distancing guidelines.

The authorities have agreed a joint approach, co-ordinated by the city's Anti Social Behaviour Team, with the aim of achieving a consistent and proportionate response.

The Government announced updated guidance on Sunday. It emphasised the importance of continuing to 'stay alert', and therefore people must stay at home as much as possible, work from home if they can, limit contact with other people and keep their distance if they go out. 

These measures should be followed by everyone. Further guidelines are in place for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

As of yesterday (Tuesday 12 May, 2020), 156 reports of people flouting the social distancing guidelines at home had been received by the police, the City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Homes. A total of 235 advisory letters have been delivered to residents by police. Four official warning letters were also issued, while last week the courts issued an emergency injunction in order to protect a vulnerable resident who is isolating.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Social distancing measures have generally been very well complied with by local residents, and this is really important because the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus is to reduce our contact with other people.

"That means staying at home as much as possible and keeping at least 2 metres away from others when we are out and about.

"However, a very small number continue to not follow the rules, for instance by hosting gatherings or parties which contravene the social distancing guidance. Each report is assessed by the Anti Social Behaviour Team, and in some cases a phone call to the residents concerned has been enough. If not, the authorities have other powers at their disposal.

"We have also been working closely with social housing landlords who are also following this approach which we hope will help keep the issue under control, although it's worth reiterating that the vast majority of people have been following the guidelines to the letter, and we thank them for their continuing cooperation at this time."

Darren Baggs, Wolverhampton Homes' Assistant Director – Housing, said: "It is pleasing that a vast majority are following the guidance to the letter to protect themselves, their families and other frontline key workers. 

“When we are alerted to instances that present a risk, we have responded, and in the main those we have needed to contact have changed their behaviour. 

“With a population in the region of 260,000 across the city, it is pleasing to see only 156 complaints have been received which demonstrates how seriously the residents of Wolverhampton have taken this situation.”

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard from Wolverhampton Police said: “I would like to thank the vast majority of people in Wolverhampton who continue to act responsibly in line with government restrictions. 

“Our officers are patrolling across our city engaging with people, explaining the restrictions and encouraging people to comply, with enforcement being a last resort.”

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.