05:51PM, Friday 03 April 2020
The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police (TVP) has given an update on the force’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video message Chief Constable (CC) John Campbell described how TVP have approached policing the new legislation which demands people must stay at home and avoid non-essential travel.
Police forces across Britain were given new powers to enforce the government’s rules which are aimed at reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
CC Campbell said the new powers, set out in a four-stage approach, are ‘about protecting the community and protecting the NHS’.
The first phase is for officers to ‘engage’ with the public, the second is to ‘explain’ the new rules if there is uncertainty, and the third is to encourage the public to comply.
He said phase four which is ‘enforce’ will only be used ‘as a last resort’.
“We have seen some examples in the last few days where we have had to make arrests in respect of people breaching the new legislation,” said CC Campbell.
“A number of people are now serving custodial sentences because of that, normally associated with some of the criminal acts that they’ve been committing at the time.
“We did have an incident where a member of the public coughed at our officers and he too is currently in prison.”
CC Campbell said TVP had seen a rise in reports of fraud, particularly online fraud, and he said police are ‘expecting a potential rise’ in domestic abuse.
He said this was due to ‘the nature of people being confined within their homes’.
Victims of domestic abuse are advised to call 999 if they are in immediate danger and if they are unable to speak they can press ‘55’ and TVP will respond.
CC Campbell also said that TVP is getting less calls from the public about some of the things it would normally deal with.
“There is almost no night-time economy now, in terms of pubs and clubs,” he said. “We have a significant amount of work associated with that.
“People are staying in their homes, they’re not going about their normal activities during the day, the roads are quieter, so all of that means that we get less calls from the public.
“And that’s quite important because we are then able to use some of that capacity to enforce the new powers that we’ve been given.”
CC Campbell also said that about 20 percent of TVPs work force is either off work or self-isloating because of pre-existing but that in the last few days about 500 have returned to work.
He finished the video by thanking his staff ‘for being there and continuing to do all they can, willingly and enthusiastically, to protect us all, save lives and protect the NHS’.
He also thanked members of the public from across the Thames Valley for ‘complying with the new rules, as difficult as that is’ and for the support they are showing to officers.
Anyone who has been a victim of fraud should contact Action Fraud who have advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of the crime by clicking here.
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