Our officers, PCSOs; Specials, and contact centre staff are engaging with literally thousands of people every day. Since the Government legislation around the Covid-19 outbreak was brought in, we have recorded an increasing number of incident reports from members of the public through our online channels.
Some 80% of online reporting forms between 6th to the 12th of April were in relation to suspected/perceived Covid-19 related breaches (1371 out of 1717). This was an increase compared to the week before where there were fewer reports and 60% of these related to suspected Covid-19 breaches (395 out of 662). These reports were in relation to reports of individuals, groups and businesses breaching the measures. In addition, we are receiving heightened volumes of calls to 101 – an increase of 20% over the previous week (30th March-5th April - 5564 calls; 6th-12th April 6703 calls).
Policing as usual continues in Surrey, despite the extraordinary times we are living in. Every contact we receive is assessed and prioritised to ensure we are where we are most needed to keep the public safe.
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 in Surrey. 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 as to whether there has been a breach of the ‘stay at home’ measures so that 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 at the time, 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 visible to the public. We may contact individuals and businesses by phone rather than sending officers out to people’s 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.”