Richmond Police District patrols will focus on shopping centres. Ballina Fair is featured here on Thursday.
Richmond Police District patrols will focus on shopping centres. Ballina Fair is featured here on Thursday.

REVEALED: Where police will crack down on new rules

RICHMOND Police District detective inspector Darren Cloake says police in his command are taking an "educational" approach to enforcing the new laws implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Local police are still enforcing the law, which stipulates you must have a good reason to leave the house, with high-visibility patrols, dedicating most of their resources to this cause.

Beaches, car parks and shopping centres have been the focus of their campaign.

"Our approach will be more about education," Insp Cloake said.

"People need time to adjust to the new circumstances.

"We are pretty compassionate to people's needs, but we do have to think of the greater good; we need to ensure people maintain their distance. There's a lot at stake."

Insp Cloake said they had mainly been issuing warnings to businesses and individuals who were found in contravention of the new laws.

"We have been inundated with phone calls from concerned people," Insp Cloake said.

"What we have found is there's been a displacement of young backpackers.

"They've floated south from Byron to the Ballina area.

"It's causing us some concern."

Backpackers have been spotted in groups at barbecue areas and at carparks near beaches.

"We've been working with rangers to discourage them from congregating," Insp Cloake said.

Meanwhile, local police are concerned domestic violence incidents could escalate in the coming weeks.

"With close confinement there is that element of risk around domestic violence," Insp Cloake said.

"We are still getting called out to domestic violence incidents."

He said he was proud of his workforce for putting their health at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"I have police here who are putting themselves in the line of fire, my heart goes out to all emergency services who are doing so," Insp Cloake said.

"There have been no complaints, morale here is pretty good.

"Health staff are at the pointy end, and so our role is to support them."


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