Nelson Police have dealt with 57 breaches of the Health Act during Alert Level 3. Photo: File.

Police crackdown on lockdown breaches

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While the majority of Nelsonians have abided by the lockdown restrictions, police have had to arrest some frequent flouters.

Nelson Bays Police Area Commander Paul Borrell says there’s a very small percentage of the community who are still doing what they’ve always done, and police found they’re easier to detect and apprehend under lockdown.

In the wider Tasman District, there have been 57 breaches of the Health Act during Alert Level 3, with 19 prosecutions, 27 warnings and 11 youth referrals.

Many of the breach prosecutions are for other criminal behaviour, such as burglary, theft, or drug dealing.

Paul says, on isolated occasions, it has also been the catalyst for the executing of search warrants.

Additionally, 10 charges have been laid in Nelson-Marlborough in relation to breaches of Covid-19 rules.

Nelson-Marlborough Health confirmed that charges have been laid under the Health Act Amendment Order 2020, aimed at preventing the outbreak or spread of Covid-19.

The amended act made it a legal requirement to comply with isolation or quarantine instructions issued by a Medical Officer of Health.

Nelson-Marlborough Health clinical director Stephen Bridgman says that under the Act, officers are able to stop people congregating in restricted places.

They also have the authority to close or restrict the use of premises, unless there was appropriate public health or infection prevention measures in place.

Court documents show the charges, laid between April 4 and last week, related to obstructing a medical officer.

“While there is a process around educating and warning those in breach of the alert level, the same tolerance has not extended to those found breaking the law in other ways,” Paul says.

–With RNZ