Shuffling our policing pack to protect the public
We’re shuffling our policing pack to ensure as many officers as possible are out and about keeping people safe in communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officers from specialist police teams like our Football and Airport Units, plus some traffic cops, have been redeployed to provide reassurance and a visible presence at key locations such as hospitals and supermarkets.
They’re encouraged to safely engage with people to reinforce the government’s instruction to say at home to stifle the spread of the disease and save lives.
We’re urging people to only head outdoors to buy essential food or medical supplies, for exercise or to help vulnerable people.
Other officers from Operational Planning – normally busy preparing for major events like protests, festivals or music concerts – are now helping us plan our ever-evolving response to the coronavirus.
And with some training temporarily on hold, specialists like our firearms instructors are now supporting our armed police on the streets.
Superintendent Beth Bridges from our Operations department, said: “These are unprecedented times and we are constantly reviewing all our policing activity to make best use of every single one of our officers.
“With far fewer vehicles on our roads we’re now tasking many of our traffic units to patrol key locations including shops and hospitals.
“And with less flights into and out of Birmingham we’ve also agreed with the airport to free up some PCs for patrols in Coventry and Solihull.
“The position has changed rapidly over the last couple of weeks and we’ve had to be flexible to ensure we’re helping the public as best we can.”
During the Covid-19 restrictions people are only allowed to leave home for the following very limited purposes:
• Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
• One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household;
• Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
• Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot work from home.
Our officers are on patrol educating anyone who is unclear what’s being asked of them and encouraging compliance with the government’s instruction.
But we do now have powers to disperse groups, instruct people to go home, and issue fines to those who ignore advice and cause concern among our communities.
Please exercise common sense. We won’t be able to dispatch officers for minor infringements of the rules. Clearly mass gatherings of people is not a minor infringement and we would want to know about that so we can take appropriate action.
You can alert us to any serious compliance breaches by messaging us on Live Chat via our website.