26 Mar 2020
The Government has today announced new public health regulations that will support officers in enforcing measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. These powers will only be used by officers if an individual fails to comply after the officer has engaged with them, explained the risks to public health and encouraged voluntary compliance.
An additional package of measures includes enabling existing civil servants who already volunteer as special constables to assist to a greater extent than they can currently, as well as relaxing tax and pension rules to encourage officers nearing retirement or those recently retired to serve.
Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said:
“I am confident the overwhelming majority of people already understand the gravity of the situation we face. There will be a small number who do not and we will engage with them, explain to them and encourage them to go home. If they refuse to do the right thing we are fully prepared to use these new powers.
“Police officers are not immune to the coronavirus and so we have been extensively planning for how we will maintain critical policing for the public with significant numbers of officers and staff off sick.
“The Home Secretary’s package of measures for those returning to policing and the support of our special constables will boost our resources as we come under increasing pressure – it is hugely welcomed.
“Those who come forward to help us, and our existing hardworking officers, must get the full protection they need to keep them safe and so we will keep working with the Home Office to make sure crucial personal protection equipment gets to the front line.”
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