Surrey Police suggest that residents have "a polite conversation" with neighbours who they believe may be in breach of stay at home rules, BEFORE making a report to police.
The request comes as police received more than double the number of online reporting forms last week, compared to the week before. They say that 80% of these reports (1371 out of 1717) were in relation to suspected or perceived Covid-19 breaches.
There was also a big rise in the number of calls to the 101 number. Reports related to businesses and groups, as well as individuals.
Sarah Durston, Department Head of the Contact Centre, said: "We appreciate those of you who have been reporting those breaching the measures – these reports help us tackle issues that would otherwise spread Coronavirus further into our communities.
“Do contact us if you need us, but in this time of unprecedented demand, to help us manage and prioritise reports effectively, we politely ask that you check the Government guidance before making a report.
"We are asking you to make the right call as to whether there has been a breach of the ‘stay at home’ measures so that we can respond effectively. This will help us to reduce demand so we can focus our resources on those who genuinely need our help.
“If you are concerned that a neighbour is breaking the stay at home guidelines, do consider having a polite conversation with them in the first instance, while maintaining social distancing measures – there may be a legitimate reason they are going out, such as buying medical or food supplies for vulnerable members of the community.
“Every report we get has to be individually assessed, and we prioritise our response to the matters where there is most risk of harm or a crime is being committed at the time, so we may not always be able to respond immediately.
“Please bear in mind we have different ways of responding to reports, not all of which will necessarily be visible to the public. We may contact individuals and businesses by phone rather than sending officers out to people’s houses.
You can find more coronavirus advice from Surrey Police here.