A POLICE chief is pleading with parents and carers to ensure youngsters stay indoors following reports of social gatherings despite lockdown measures.

On Monday night the Prime Minister announced further measures the public needed to take in the fight against COVID-19.

In a bid to slow the transmission of the virus, to protect our NHS and to save lives, the country was asked to only leave our homes to get food, for health reasons or for essential work.

In the main, North Yorkshire Police has seen that residents understand the importance of what is being asked of them and are adhering to the guidance.

However, local Neighbourhood Policing Teams are reporting still seeing groups of young people out in the evening, congregating in areas around York and North Yorkshire.

And the Force Control Room is continuing to receive a number of reports of anti-social behaviour.

Speaking about the reports received, Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, who is coordinating North Yorkshire Police’s operational response to the virus said: “We are now at the stage where it is vital that our communities pull together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this includes our young people.

“Parents and carers, I’m appealing to you to speak to the young people in your families and ensure they are aware of the threat this virus poses, not only to our immediate families and communities, but our country as a whole.

“I realise and understand that staying inside together in our homes for long periods of time can be stressful and that young people may want to go out and see their friends.

"But please, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions, stay inside and use alternative forms of communication such as phones and social media apps to keep in touch with each other.

“Policing in our country has always been by consent and we rely on our local communities support to help us to keep North Yorkshire one of the safest places in the UK.

"We do not want to have to take an enforcement approach to this situation and issue dispersal orders or fines.

"But please be assured, if we have to resort to these measures, we absolutely will.”