Police ‘doing everything’ to maintain service level amid coronavirus spread
PUBLISHED: 15:58 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 17 March 2020
Police have issued a message of reassurance amid the coronavirus outbreak – vowing to do everything to maintain levels of service expected by the public.
Suffolk Constabulary said plans were in place to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the organisation, and that it would work with partners and other agencies to keep the county safe.
Meanwhile, emergency legislation could expand the powers of criminal courts to use video hearings to carry out business remotely – and prison inspections have been put on hold until the end of May.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has been leading on how the service adapts to widespread disruption, while the public have been urged to be sensible about using the 999 emergency system.
On Monday, the College of Policing announced the postponement of annual sergeants exams – putting promotion on hold for many candidates.
A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Suffolk Constabulary is committed to doing everything it can to continue providing the level of service the public would expect during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The constabulary has plans in place to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the organisation, and will work with its emergency service partners and other agencies to keep communities in Suffolk safe.”
Last week, police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said the constabulary was involved with the Suffolk Resilience Forum and had well-developed plans to ensure the service remained as robust as possible.
On February 10, the secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, introduced the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, aimed at reducing public health risk.
Measures allowed police to use reasonable force to detain of anyone believed to be infected and at risk of spreading the virus after arriving from an infected area – although Suffolk Constabulary confirmed it had not yet been required to use the powers.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said the latest government guidance on how to respond to COVID-19 would have a clear impact on the operation of all courts in every jurisdiction.
Emergency legislation is likely to contain clauses expanding the powers in criminal courts to use technology in a wider range of hearings.