DEDICATED officers will be on patrol across the county dealing with Covid-19 issues this weekend, Dorset Police top brass have said.

And with an anti-lockdown protest still scheduled to take place in Bournemouth on Saturday, Dorset Police Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya has issued a stark reminder that gatherings of more than two people are unlawful under the new coronavirus regulations.

Police say the role of the patrols will be to engage with the public and businesses, respond to any Covid concerns and patrol known hotspots.

Ms De Reya said: "Our role is to educate, engage and encourage compliance so that enforcement remains a final option for us.

“I am aware of a planned protest due to take place in Dorset on Saturday and we have been engaging with the organisers in a bid to prevent this event from taking place.

“The right to protest is well established in this country and police forces have a long history of upholding this by policing by consent and ensuring the safety of all those exercising that right.

“However, coronavirus is a deadly disease and there are restrictions in place to prevent its spread.

"Gatherings of more than two people are unlawful under the new coronavirus regulations.

"We continue to urge people to abide by these regulations, as we have throughout this public health crisis, to help keep themselves and others safe."

Dorset Police also said that throughout the national restrictions earlier in the year, Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole communities remained overwhelmingly compliant.

Ms De Reya said: “I am delighted with the fantastic response from the vast majority of our communities who are all doing their bit to keep people safe.

"I would like to thank them and remind them to keep up the good work."