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Covid-19 Stay-At-Home ‘Offender’ Reports to Police Soar As Lockdown Begins to Bite

Published on: 19 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 20 Apr, 2020

Since the government legislation on the Covid-19 outbreak was brought in, Surrey police have recorded an increasing number of incident reports. Some 80 per cent of online reporting between  April 6 and 12 concerned suspected/perceived Covid-19-related breaches (1,371 out of 1,717). 

The week before 60 per cent of reports were suspected Covid-19 breaches (395 out of 662). Calls to 101 are up by 20 per cent, from the previous week, March  30 till April 5, 5,564 calls; April  6 till 12, 6,703 calls.

Sarah Durston, department head of the Contact Centre said: “We massively rely on the public’s help when it comes to being our eyes and ears. We appreciate those of you who have been reporting those breaching the measures. These reports help us tackle issues that would otherwise spread Coronavirus further into our communities.

“Do contact us if you need us, but in this time of unprecedented demand, to help us manage and prioritise reports effectively, we politely ask that you check the government guidance before making a report.

“We are asking you to make the right call about whether there has been a breach of the ‘stay at home’ measures so we can respond effectively. This will help us to reduce demand so we can focus our resources on those who genuinely need our help. In an emergency, always call 999.

“Every report we get has to be individually assessed and we prioritise our response to the matters where there is most risk of harm or a crime is being committed, so we may not always be able to respond immediately.

“If you are concerned that a neighbour is breaking the stay-at=home guidelines, do consider having a polite conversation with them in the first instance, while maintaining social distancing measures. There may be a legitimate reason they are going out, such as buying medical or food supplies for vulnerable members of the community.

“Please bear in mind we have different ways of responding to reports, not all of which will necessarily be publicly visible. We may contact individuals and businesses by phone rather than sending officers  to houses.

“We continue to work 24/7 to protect the public, to protect the NHS and to help to save lives. In an emergency, always call 999.”

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