Derbyshire Police's Assistant Chief Constable has issued a statement urging residents not to contact them for advice on the government's recent 'lockdown' measures due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Kem Mehmet said: "Last night the widest ranging set of directions so far to the British public were set out by the Prime Minister to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
"Across the world the virus has claimed the lives of thousands of people – leaving parents, children, grandchildren and friends mourning the deaths of loved ones. It is an unprecedented crisis that has forced us to put in place unprecedented measures in order to save lives.
"Staff across the NHS, one of the best health services in the world, are seeing on a daily basis the devastating impact that the coronavirus is having and they are asking one simple thing – where at all possible stay at home.
"As a force we not only support that statement but are ready and willing to take any necessary action – but we anticipate that the majority of people will adhere to the below guidelines and ensure that they are followed by friends and family.
"The guidance is clear issued last night is clear. People should only leave their homes for the following reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities;
- for one form of exercise a day;
- for any medical need;
- to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”
"And to support the government instruction of not having more than two people out who are not in the same household we will take action to disperse these groups.
"You should not meet family or friends and trips to aid vulnerable people should be kept to a minimum with social distancing maintained at all times. We know that this virus disproportionately affects those most vulnerable in our society and it is these people that these measures are going to help the most.
"With these fast moving times I have no doubt you will have questions – however – my officers and staff should not be the first point contact for questions in regards to movement. You should keep up to date with the latest government advice which can be accessed here.
"Officers will be out on patrol, however, where people witness clear and obvious breaches of these guidelines they should be passed to the force via a private message on Facebook or direct message Twitter which can then be allocated to officers.
"In order to bolster the ranks of those able to respond to incidents the force has redeployed officers from certain areas of the force in order to ensure that there is resilience to meet the demands over the coming days and weeks therefore please only call 101 when it is necessary and only us 999
"That is not to say that our sole focus is on responding to this crisis.
"We are maintaining officer levels in certain areas to effectively manage any major incident or serious crime that may occur.
"And our armed response remains in place, and on hand, to support officers at incidents across the county.
"We are also working with colleagues and partners from across the region to help understand the pressures on other forces and services and how we can support each other in these times.
"Critical workers across the UK – from emergency services, the NHS, and supermarket workers – are risking their own health and wellbeing to ensure that you do not have to.
"Put simply – we stay at work, so you don’t have to.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is for every single member of our community to take personal responsibility to ensure the spread of the coronavirus is slowed – giving vital time for our NHS colleagues to deliver the care that is so badly needed.
"It is at times such as this that we see the best of our society and I have no doubt that each and every one of you will do your duty in following these guidelines and help save countless lives."
THREAD #StayHomeSaveLives— Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) March 24, 2020
Our officers have been making visible patrols this evening in order to ensure that residents and businesses are aware of the new instructions about how to limit the spread of the #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/k5BJc6dITc