Coronavirus – New Police Powers: Video Message by Chief Constable

Thursday, 26th March, 2020

Video message by West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins QPM in relation to the ongoing threat from the Coronavirus pandemic, and new police powers to help keep people safe and slow the spread.

As new police powers are introduced from today, to ensure public compliance with strict stay at home restrictions, West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins QPM and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson OBE appealed to local communities to continue to support the unprecedented national effort to fight the virus.

Chief Constable John Robins said:

“Keeping the public safe, delivering the best service we can to the public and supporting the nationwide response are our top priorities.

“These new measures are there to save lives by preventing the NHS and Social Care from being overwhelmed.  I appeal to the public to adhere to the new restrictions, people must stay at home and comply with social distancing when they do need to go out. 

“We continue to provide all our policing services across West Yorkshire, based in local neighbourhoods.  Our officers and staff continue to work relentlessly around the clock to keep people safe.

“We now also have a responsibility to ensure that the public are abiding by the new restrictions placed upon us all.  I am pleased to see that the vast majority of people have been heeding the advice, helping to slow the spread and reduce demand on our stretched health services.  We will continue to encourage compliance with new stay at home rules, warning and advising if necessary and trying to help people to understand what they should be doing.

“I am sure most people understand the need for restrictions, but where people persist in not complying, we will use the powers at our disposal.  Were people repeatedly fail to abide by the restrictions and fail to contribute to slowing the spread of coronavirus, I have asked my officers to be robust in applying these new powers.

“Our communities can be reassured that we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure their safety.  We have a brave, courageous and dedicated workforce of police officers, staff, Special Constables and volunteers who are used to dealing with major incidents and who will continue to do everything they can to keep the people of West Yorkshire safe.

“Members of the public are asked to help manage police demand by thinking carefully before they call either 999 or the 101 non-emergency number and to use online reporting and webchat with us where they can.  This will enable us to get help to those people who need it most.  The use of online internet and app based services, to report crimes or get advice, will reduce call volumes and help us manage demand.

 

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said:

“The new measures will involve the police supporting the Government guidance, but essentially it is about the public, that is every single one of us, working together to ensure we are supporting our officers, staff, volunteers and crucially supporting our NHS workers.

“We police by consent in the UK and can only do that with the public support, this is literally about saving lives and protecting people across the country. As your PCC I urge people to follow the Government and NHS advice, comply with what is being asked and help the health and social care services to manage this national public health emergency as best they can.

“Police officers and PCSOs will be out and about in communities, providing support and reassurance. I will be working with and supporting them and our partners to ensure we are getting the messages out to individuals around staying safe and supporting one another.

“It is important to remember that West Yorkshire Police (WYP), as with every other police force across the country, still have calls to answer and crimes to investigate. Policing goes on and WYP are there for the public and I know that they are grateful for the continued support of the public.

“I am in daily contact with the Chief Constable on how West Yorkshire Police are adapting and responding to these ongoing issues, ensuring the situation is being managed effectively in such challenging and unique circumstances through the West Yorkshire resilience structures which I am also closely linked into.

“We all know this is difficult, but we are in unprecedented times. We are appealing to people to use their common sense and think of others and to please stay at home wherever possible. It will ultimately save lives.

“My priority as PCC is to ensure vulnerable people and victims of crime have the ongoing support of the police and access to the vital services they need through this pandemic situation, many of which are commissioned victims services through my office with key partners.

“We will only get through this together, collectively, by supporting and helping and protecting one another. We all have that duty of care and responsibility as individual citizens.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for playing your part, and let’s remember our key workers, our NHS staff, police officers and staff and those individuals and volunteers ensuring we are stay safe by keeping the country’s infrastructure running. We owe them all a massive debt of gratitude now and in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Further advice https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Video Text Transcript

The Coronavirus emergency is a major challenge for our health and social care services.  To help the NHS and Social Care system in West Yorkshire manage the impact of Coronavirus and to save lives, new restrictions have been placed upon us all.  Following the self-isolation and social distancing restrictions will keep people safe, slow the spread of Coronavirus, stop the NHS from being overwhelmed and help to save lives.

The police have been granted new powers to enforce the new restrictions, to help keep people safe and slow the spread. 

Thankfully, I know that the vast majority of people across West Yorkshire are heeding the advice and guidance and I want to thank them for that.  Where they are not, the approach of my officers and staff will be to encourage, explain and engage to seek compliance.  Ultimately though, some people will choose not to comply, so I have had to tell my officers and staff to use these new powers where they need to - especially with people who are deliberately breaching the restrictions and putting other people’s lives at risk. 

In order to establish why people are out and about on the roads, my officers will have to stop and speak with even more people than usual.  I hope you will understand they are just doing their job, just trying to keep us all safe. 

These new restrictions and police powers are about halting the spread of the virus.  I believe we have the public’s support to do this and we will do it in a reasonable and proportionate way, but we will need to enforce them when we have to.

My officers and staff continue to work relentlessly, twenty four hours a day, across West Yorkshire to reduce crime, protect the vulnerable and provide reassurance during this time of national crisis.  We will continue to keep the people of West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.  Please play your part by abiding by the temporary restrictions.

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