Police and officers from the City of Wolverhampton Council took to the streets on Friday (15 January) to proactively engage with the public in response to a high number of Covid-19 cases in the city.

The 'all out day' of action saw officers, both uniformed and plain clothed, in retail locations across the city centre, Bilston, Whitmore Reans and Wednesfield, including shopping centres, retail parks and supermarkets. 

They found the vast majority of people were following the lockdown measures introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19, though a number of breaches were identified, including people not wearing face coverings where they are mandatory and retailers which should only be open for click and collect allowing customers to enter the store.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We are facing a very serious situation indeed. The infection rate has risen dramatically in Wolverhampton over the last month or so and nearly 2,300 people tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

“That’s a staggering number which is putting immense pressure on local health services and, tragically, claiming lives. That’s why it is even more important that we do all we can to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"The rules are there for a reason and I'd like to thank the vast majority of people who are playing their part and stopping the virus from spreading. But, if the lockdown is going to be effective, we need everyone to do their bit."

During the day of action, nearly 200 people were given directions to leave after not having a legitimate reason to be out of their homes or failing to wear face coverings correctly and 3 people were issued with fines, including one person who had travelled from Cheshire to visit a friend – under the current restrictions people must not leave their home unless necessary.

Wolverhampton Inspector Sophie Clement said: "It was encouraging to see so many people complying with the regulations.

“Compared to previous all out days, many more people were wearing face coverings and following distancing rules and I really want to thank them for playing their part in trying to stop the spread of the deadly virus in our city.

“We are committed to playing our part in enforcing the regulations and protecting the residents of Wolverhampton. So many people were following the rules, but it was really disappointing to see that others were still ignoring these restrictions and ultimately increasing the risk to other people." 

Since September, officers in Wolverhampton conducting enforcement activity have spoken with around 9,500 people regarding the Covid-19 regulations, and further days of action are planned over the coming weeks. 

Supt Simon Inglis from Wolverhampton Police said: "We realise there is still a long way to go and we would ask for the community to continue to comply with the regulations. 

"We will be running further enforcement days such as this over the next few weeks and where necessary we will issue further fines. The overall aim is to help the community get back to a state of normality at the earliest opportunity and ask for your support with that."

People who have concerns about businesses not being Covid compliant can report their experiences to the council online via Report COVID-19 rule-breaking or by calling 01902 550188.

Latest figures show there were 865.2 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 16 January. That means 2,275 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert