Airport police checking if passengers’ journeys are essential

Claire Hayhurst, PA

Police based at Bristol Airport are checking whether passengers are travelling for essential purposes.

Under Covid-19 restrictions, people must stay at home and must not travel without a legally permitted reason.

It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes, UK Government guidelines state.

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police are at Bristol Airport to speak to members of the public about their journey.

Inspector Chris Gresswell said the main message is to tell people to “only travel if essential”.

He said people should look on the Government website if they are unsure whether they are allowed to travel.

Those coming into Bristol Airport are likely to see police officers and be spoken to by them, Mr Gresswell said.

“The purpose of that is for us to engage with passengers and to make sure that people understand the regulations,” he told the PA news agency.

“We are not looking to trip people up and enforcement is one of a number of options that are available to officers.

“We are looking to engage, explain and encourage people. That’s what we are trying to achieve.”

He said enforcement is “only one of the available options” for officers.

“We want people to make the right decision and adhere to the restrictions,” Mr Gresswell said.

“In the vast majority of circumstances, that’s what people are trying to do.

“There will be circumstances where someone is travelling because of a misunderstanding and we would encourage them to return home and observe the regulations.”

He added that it is not unusual to have police at Bristol Airport.

Before the pandemic, officers were at the site to provide reassurance and engage with passengers.

“That’s exactly what we are doing now,” he said.

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