134 Tickets Handed Out In Port Stephens Hunter Covid Crackdown

   Port Stephens-Hunter Police and their ADF reinforcements

More than 134 fines were handed out over the last week to people flouting lockdown rules in Port Stephens and the Hunter.

It comes as the NSW Police Force rounds out week one of a crackdown on breaches of the public health orders under Operation Stay At Home.

Across the region, more resources than ever before are being poured into managing the Covid-19 outbreak.

Port Stephens-Hunter District Commander Detective Superintendent Chad Gillies says along with half a dozen reinforcements from the Australian Defence Force, police personnel are focused on Covid compliance.

“All available blue shirts in relation to local police are now dedicating the vast majority of their time to this Covid response,” Commander Gillies said.

“That includes detectives wearing uniform, that includes our crime prevention units, our intel officers and everyone supporting our general duties and our proactive crime teams.”

The police presence is highly visible in the region’s public spaces, with officers patrolling transport hubs, beaches and shopping centres to make sure people are out with a legitimate reason and are doing the right thing.

“The vast majority of people are doing the right thing which is really pleasing to see,” Commander Gillies said.

“But there are an element of people that just don’t seem to get the message, that are selfish and are putting the safety of others at risk,” he said.

Commander Gillies urged the community not to search for loopholes to get out and about.

“It’s pretty simple, stay at home means stay at home,” he said.

This week police have been overwhelmed by questions from locals about what is and isn’t permissible under the NSW Government’s lockdown rules, which have been marred by wafty language and delays in updates to the NSW Health website.

“We’re getting a lot of questions and what I’m trying to educate the community on is just stay at home unless you absolutely need to be out,” Commander Gillies said.

“If you are out, make sure what that looks like for you is consistent with the Public Health Order.”

The stay at home orders for regional NSW including the Hunter will stay in place for at least another 7 days until August 28.