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Wiltshire Police: We can 'absolutely rely on them'

Wiltshire Police: We can 'absolutely rely on them'

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:36am 25th March 2020.

3 minute read

The county's Chief Constable has been speaking to Spire FM about the challenges that Covid-19 is bringing.

Kier Pritchard has told us that 'morale is strong' within his force.

He's also been speaking about the possibility of having to enforce penalties on people who don't 'follow Government advice to the letter'.

Click play to listen to the full interview: 

LOCKDOWN POWERS WILL BE USED

Wiltshire Police's Chief Constable says his officers have already been called out to disperse groups who aren't complying with the ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

They've also had to give non-essential businesses some advice about whether they should be open.

Those incidents have happened within the first 24 hours of the stringent rules to stay at home laid out by the Prime Minister.

Kier Pritchard says his team will do what they have to, to keep the community safe: 

"If people will not comply with the measures that will protect the NHS and save lives, we will have to step forward and enforce. That will look initially like warnings, followed by an escalation of dispersal, and if that doesn't work, then we expect the provision to issue a fixed penalty notice and a fine. 

"I would see these being the powers of last resort. I am confident that the public will listen to this advice. It's absolutely fundamental and critical, and I wouldn't want us to be in a position where we unnecessarily criminalise people, when actually we're trying to protect the public."

DEMAND FOR POLICE FALLING

The Chief Constable has told Spire FM that demand for 'traditional' policing, tackling ongoing crimes, is falling.

But they are seeing an increased need to provide reassurance to people, which is becoming a priority.

Police officer (Mike 2019)
Officers are still out on patrols across Wiltshire to try and provide reassurance

Wiltshire Police is also warning that there's been a rise in scams off the back of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Kier Pritchard says they've seen a change in the way they're being called upon: 

"Our demand on policing is lower than we have seen in the last couple of weeks, so we've had fewer 999 and fewer 101 calls. Demand is changing so we need to make sure that we can follow that and make sure that some of the most vulnerable in our communities are protected.

"Our role is to provide clear messages, to be there to protect the public and to do everything we can with all of the support that we have from the local communities and local partners to make sure that we can continue to deliver essential serivces."

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