Chief Superintendent Chris Curtis, the officer in charge of Durham Constabulary’s response to the outbreak, says that police will continue to be there when needed, despite the impact of Covid-19.
Chief Superintendent Chris Curtis said: “Durham Constabulary has taken all necessary steps to ensure we can continue to protect the public and uphold the service that keeps the public safe every day.
“I understand that people are worried because these are undeniably difficult times for everyone and our officers and staff are only human: we can catch a flu just like everyone else.
“But as you would expect, we have well-rehearsed plans in place for every eventuality and that means we can make sure that our officers – and the vital staff who support them – will still be out there doing what they do best: preventing crime, catching criminals and keeping our communities safe.
“Virus or no virus, we will always be there when the public need us.”
Although precise figures are not available, early evidence suggests that calls for service to the force’s control room at police headquarters have fallen over the last week.
Nevertheless, officers are urging members of the public to consider whether they really need to call police and also to be patient with the call handlers who are operating under increased pressure during the present emergency.
Chief Supt Curtis added: “I have been very proud of the response I have seen from everyone at Durham Constabulary – with staff volunteering to take on different roles where their help is needed most.
“Right now, the public won’t see much of a difference – we’ve had to cancel some community meetings, some school visits and some training – but we will still have the same number of officers on the streets and if you call 999 we’ll still send help to your door, day or night.
“Members of the public can help by not calling the police unless you really need to, but we’re absolutely confident we have enough officers and enough call handlers to manage in any emergency.”
Senior officers also asked members of the public to look out for each other during the current situation.
Chief Supt Curtis said: “I would like to thank the public for the support they are offering our frontline officers and staff at this time.
“But more importantly, we’d like to ask them to look out for each other – their families, friends and neighbours and particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“At time like this we all pull together and help look after each other.”