Our thanks to Hertfordshire Constabulary for this news update.
Like every other service, business or organisation the Constabulary is continuing to respond to issues caused by COVID-19.
Nationally and locally, the police service has tried and tested plans in place to respond to a situation like this.
Our message is clear: we are here for you and our priority remains working with our emergency service partners and other agencies to keep communities in Hertfordshire safe.
New police powers
As part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, new police powers will be coming into effect on Thursday March 26.
These measures are being brought in to protect the NHS and save lives. Police are currently working with the Government around the guidance and legislation.
From a policing perspective it is about engaging, explaining the new rules and encouraging people to abide by them.
However, if people are non-compliant with the regulations, we will be enforcing them, as the public would want us to. This includes dispersing groups of more than two people and those who refuse will face a fine.
Hertfordshire’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: ‘This is a public health emergency and compliance with these measures is considered necessary to achieve the objective of effective social distancing.
‘We have all heard the scientific advice which clearly states this will slow the spread of the virus and save people’s lives.
‘The constabulary urges self-compliance within all Hertfordshire’s communities. Officers and staff will encourage all citizens to do so, remind those who we see in public who we believe may not be following them to do so, and only resort to enforcement action as a last resort.
‘If we all work at this together we will slow the spread, save more lives and enable us to return to normality sooner.’
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: ‘These are powers that nobody wanted to take on but the situation is grave and they are necessary to ensure that people are kept safe and that as few people as possible die.
‘It is vital that we all heed the government advice and warnings and ensure that the police never have to use their new powers in Hertfordshire.
‘If the public do not comply with this lockdown the police will use their powers to enforce it, and have my full support in that.
‘Our officers and staff are working flat out every day to keep us safe and it is our duty to support them and make their job easier by reducing unnecessary pressures on them.
‘I have always said policing is everybody’s business and that is also true of the threat we face to today. It is only by working together as a community, acting responsibly and being ready to offer help where it is needed it that we will overcome this crisis.’
The safety and welfare of local communities remains our top priority.
Members of the public should continue to call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.
If your call is not urgent, we would urge people to make use of our online reporting service or our online webchat facility wherever possible, in order to release the pressure on our emergency lines and resources.
If you are seeking advice around COVID-19 and what it means for you, please visit the Government’s website in the first instance. This will enable our call takers and officers to focus purely on policing matters and ensure resources are being utilised effectively.
If you want to report a case of COVID-19, please visit the NHS website for advice.
If you have concerns about crime or anti-social behaviour in your local neighbourhood, you can continue to share those directly with us by using our digital feedback platform, echo.
Where you should go for information
Advice and regular updates from the Government are available here.
For medical advice, please visit the NHS website.