"We are well equipped to deal with this" - coronavirus message from police chief

"We are well equipped to deal with this" - coronavirus message from police chief

By Adele Forrest | 24/03/2020

'We are well equipped to deal with this' - coronavirus message from police chief
Chief Con Stephen Watson

OFFICERS are leaving their loved ones “night and day to keep you safe”, said Chief Constable Stephen Watson as he called on people to support front line workers by staying at home in the fight against coronavirus.

The message came as the Prime Minister announced new strict measures last night, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

Boris Johnson said the country was facing a moment of “national emergency” and staying at home was necessary to save lives and tackle “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades".

People should leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and to fulfill any medical or care needs.

Shops selling non-essential goods were also ordered to close and police and the council will now have powers to disperse gatherings.

Responding to the announcement, Mr Watson said: “We are all now being enlisted, not to fight in a war, but to play a very small but crucial role in the fight against Covid-19.

“Whilst we may face unprecedented times, it does not require great bravery and courage. All that is required of you is to stay at home and to cherish some time with those closest to you. In doing so, we are protecting the vulnerable and the elderly, many of whom have given more than this to protect us.

“I fully anticipate the public of South Yorkshire will want to adhere to these restrictions, many already are.

“We will continue to work closely with our communities to ensure people know what is required of them. We will inform, encourage and support. However where we find people are not willing to comply, we will move to enforcement once we understand the detail of the legislation as it becomes available to us. This will be a last, but in some cases necessary, resort.

“I want to reassure you that we are well equipped to deal with this. We have recently increased our neighbourhood policing capacity and will keep officers in their communities wherever possible. We will not withdraw our front line and will remain here for you throughout.

“Please listen to your local officers, they are leaving their own loved ones night and day to keep you safe. They ask very little of you, please support them in supporting the NHS.”

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