Commissioner Fuller – COVID Operation update

The NSW Police Force is evolving the operational response from compliance to enforcement as the number of community transmissions of COVID-19 increases and continues to spread across the Greater Sydney area.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the community continues to be a source of information to assist police with their operational response to the evolving COVID crisis.

“Since March last year, we have had around 40,000 calls to Crime Stoppers for people being concerned about COVID behaviour, which includes 3000 calls the past weekend,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“I think it is a stark reminder that most of the community gets the issue; they get the health orders and the significance of them.

“While Fairfield is an area of concern at the moment, we are also looking at other areas across Sydney, including Bondi and Sutherland.

“Police will continue to conduct business inspections with an additional focus of compliance with QR code requirements.

“While we have seen an improvement in the behaviour of people across NSW, particularly in terms of wearing masks and the other health orders, we ask the community continue to work with us over the coming weeks,” Commissioner Fuller said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said that communities across the state are keenly aware of the significant risk we now face with today’s case numbers.

“We have been dealing with this pandemic for nearly 18 months,” Mr Elliott said.

“The NSW Government has been guiding the state’s response to COVID-19, but the only chance we have of dealing with this latest outbreak is if we all come together to abide by the public health orders to limit the spread of the delta variant.

“I am heartened that the Commissioner has reported an increase in compliance and want to remind the community that we are not out of the woods yet. We have a way to go and I urge every person to continue to limit their movements to limit the spread of this devastating virus,” he said

Some incidents of note reported in the past 24 hours include:

About 3.30pm yesterday (Sunday 11 July 2021), officers attached to Operation Coronavirus were patrolling Canley Vale, when they observed a group of men playing volleyball at a park on Phelps Street.

When police approached, some of the men fled the scene, but officers stopped and spoke with 14 men, who had travelled to the area from across south-west Sydney including Cabramatta, Carramar, Canley Vale, Canley Heights, Kemps Creek, Cecil Hills, Liverpool and Leppington.

A 15th man, who left his car keys and wallet at the park, spoke with officers a short time later.

All 15 men – aged between 20 and 63 – have been issued with $1000 PINs.

In a second incident, officers from Inner West Police Area Command were called to a hotel at St Peters about 9.15pm yesterday (Sunday 11 July 2021) following reports of a disturbance in one of the rooms.

On arrival, police spoke with four men – aged between 32 and 41 – who stated they had gathered to drink and socialise as they had not seen each other in years.

All four men were issued $1000 PINs – with three sent home and the fourth remained at the hotel.

In a third incident, officers from Cumberland Police Area Command were conducting inquiries at Merrylands about 9.45pm, when they heard yelling coming from a home on Smythe Street.

It was ascertained that the occupants had invited guests over for drinks, and all four men were heavily intoxicated.

After being advised they were receiving $1000 PINs, the residents – aged 33 and 38 – and the guests – aged 35 and 38 – became argumentative with police, with one of the men ripping up his PIN in front of officers.

The guests were then directed to leave the location.

In total, 105 PINs were issued yesterday, with 16 of those $200 infringements for failing to wear a fitted face covering.

A further 14 people were charged with failing to comply with Public Health Orders. All of those charges were associated with other criminal offences.

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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