‘Let us all save lives in Sussex this weekend.’
That’s the plea from Sussex Police as the country enters a long Bank Holiday weekend of lockdown to combat Covid-19.
Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner says police are ‘well resourced’ and will be on patrol in urban and rural communities to reassure and support over the Easter break.
Ms Shiner says: “We remain well-resourced and are still dealing with all types of crime, continuing to police our roads and tackle criminality in the community. As ever, our plea is for everyone to do the right thing this weekend, stay home, save lives and protect the NHS.
…it is for people to make the right choices to help save lives…
“Our officers and PCSOs will continue to engage with people and explain what the government guidance is and why it has been put in place. We want to encourage people to do the right thing in following that guidance and only where absolutely necessary will our officers take enforcement action.
“Our officers are working in a more visible and agile way, patrolling our communities as they would usually do but also being responsive to reports we receive from the public regarding any areas where people may be gathering against the current guidelines.
“Above all, it is for people to make the right choices to help save lives and slow down the spread of the virus.”
Police will continue to use a full range of powers where needed and have recently issued dispersal orders in Hastings, Eastbourne, Seaford and Crawley to further prevent large gatherings in hot spot areas.
“We are especially concerned for the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Ms Shiner
“While we are not seeing a rise in domestic abuse crimes, we are receiving more calls to domestic incidents such as arguments. We continue to work with support services to ensure that we are able to respond and support people if they call and need help. People subject to violence or coercion behind closed doors, children vulnerable to online abuse; people vulnerable to exploitation be in no doubt – we are there for you. Contact us and we will be there,” she told Hastings In Focus.
…dramatic reduction in the number of vehicles on the road…
Police say that with the lockdown, overall crime has reduced but there has been an increase in the number of people spitting or coughing at others and claiming to be infected by coronavirus. In addition there has been an increase in anti-social behaviour with a large portion being coronavirus-related.
Police have also seen a dramatic reduction in the number of vehicles on the road, however continue to receive reports of vehicles travelling in excess of the speed limit. Roads policing units will continue to disrupt this and any other criminality.
With more officers, including Special Constables, redeployed to visible policing, as well as additional PCSOs, communities will continue to see a reassuring presence over the weekend. An additional 62 new officers will be deployed into local communities in May having completed their essential training in a much shorter period.
Ms Shiner added: “Once again I would like to thank the public in Sussex for assisting us by staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “This weekend is when many families would normally be setting off on holiday or gathering with family and friends to mark Easter so it will be especially frustrating for us all to stay at home and stick to the social distancing guidance…but we must if we are to make our earlier efforts worthwhile.
“In Sussex and other counties, the public have largely made sensible decisions about non-essential travel and avoiding gatherings and public feedback is showing that most of us understand the need to stick to these measures.
“Police officers will be very visible around the county over the Easter period to gently remind people not to gather or linger in public spaces.
“If we can all stay at home we can reduce the risk to other people and ourselves and we can avoid putting unnecessary demands on officers.”