WEST MERCIA Police chiefs have declared the response to the Coronavirus crisis as a ‘major incident’ and pledged to ensure essential acitivities and services are maintained by the force.
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham revealed the move in a statement on Tuesday (March 24) and pledged to keep communities across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford safe and supported through the coming weeks.
“We are working with our partners across local authorities, emergency services, health and local charities to ensure we provide, not only an effective policing service, but a range of other services and support mechanisms for our communities, particularly for the vulnerable and those most in need,” he said.
“This is a national emergency and we have now taken the decision, along with our partners, to declare this as a major incident.
“Like everyone, we as an organisation, are also feeling the impact of the COVID-19 virus. However, please be assured we are taking effective steps to mitigate this impact to ensure essential activities and services are maintained.
The shutdown will be reviewed in three weeks time according to the Prime Minister and legislation to allow the police to enforce parts of the shutdown will be in place by later this week.
“We are working with Government and policing colleagues at a national level to fully understand and see how best these new measures will be enforced should this be required. But I want to reassure our communities that any action will be carried out in a professional and proportionate manner,” Chief Con Bangham added.
“I understand this might temporarily alter our relationship with the public and our communities and therefore I implore each and every one of you to adhere to the instructions given by Government as it would be preferable not to have to take any enforcement action.
“We understand that these new restrictions will also place added pressure and strain on families and individuals but there is support for you. Keep looking after each other and together we will be successful through this difficult time.”