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NSW Police face ‘confronting’ scenes at parks, beaches

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Footage of residents upset and angry at police trying to enforce social distancing measures is “confronting and disappointing”, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Footage of residents upset and angry at police trying to enforce social distancing measures is "confronting and disappointing", NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Some police have been spat on and abused, while dealing with NSW residents at parks and beaches.

"We understand these changes can be difficult," Comm. Fuller said, saying officers would "show discretion" while policing tough new lockdown laws.

Police officers patrol Bondi Beach prior to its closure. Beachgoers drew condemnation yesterday when tens of thousands of people flouted social distancing rules, which have been put in place in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Bondi Beach and other beaches have since been closed in Sydney's east.A NSW Police van drives through a Bondi Beach carpark. Around 70,000 police officers are patrolling the social distancing orders.

He acknowledged there would be many "what-if" situations, as people try to understand changing rules that are not always clear.

"Police have been enforcing these laws and I know ... there has been criticism of police, which I don't accept. I accept the criticism of my leadership," Comm. Fuller said.

He said changes to the Australian lifestyle was "challenging" for everyone.

"Safe is being home at the moment unless you have to work."

No fines have so far been issued under NSW's new lockdown rules - but the police boss said they will issue tickets for up to $11,000 if people defy warnings.

Addressing questions on policing and punishments, which can include a six-month jail term in addition to the $11,000 fine, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was "pleased" people think "we are going too far".

Footage emerged yesterday of a couple with a baby sitting on a beachside bench in Sydney's east who was asked to move on by police.

In a separate incident, a man sunbaking in a city park was warned by officers.

Graph showing confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW.

Comm. Fuller said there were many reasons why people could leave the house, but he warned police would not tolerate rule breakers.

"You can leave the house if you need to work. If you need to go to the doctors or the chemist for any health outcome you can leave. If you need to go get food you can leave. If you need fuel for the car, you can leave. If there is something to do with child minding, you can leave." he said.

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Police will act on unnecessary gatherings in public including people sitting down to drink take-away coffees and sunbaking in parks," he said.

Comm. Fuller reminded people to check the valid reasons for leaving their home.

"Sun baking in the park is not one of them. Going down in big groups to the beach is not one of them," he said.

Around 17,000 police are on the ground ready to hand out on the post fines, he said.

NSW Police patrol a deserted area by Sydney harbour. The city is under tight social distancing restrictions.NSW Police can slug people with on-the-spot fines of $1000 and possible jail time for individuals who break social distancing and self-isolation rules. Businesses who breach the rules face $5000 fines.

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Source: 9News

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