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Gloucestershire's Chief Constable has released the following statement after new social distancing measures were announced by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March 2020.
Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: “Firstly I want to thank everyone for their continued support through these unprecedented times which we are all facing together.
“The new measures announced by the Prime Minister yesterday to increase social distancing and stay at home have been put in place to save lives and protect the NHS. They are there to protect you and I’d urge you all to please comply with them.
“We’re working around the clock to understand what the legislation will mean, and we’ll share this with you in due course. In the meantime, there will be more visible policing across the county in support of the Prime Minister’s directive, ready to respond when needed, to help keep Gloucestershire safe and, I hope, to provide reassurance.
“Please help us find our way through this – given the extraordinary community spirit we’ve already seen throughout this fast moving situation, I hope we have your cooperation.
“As a police service, we have a duty to protect life and support the Government and our partners in health agencies in the fight against this pandemic.
“The message I have given to my staff is that we will focus on policing by consent, working with people. Enforcement should be a last resort as we hope people will listen and cooperate. I have however let all my staff know that they have my full backing when they do exercise legal authority if the circumstances require and justify it.
“Please do follow the advice, stay at home and help us to help the national effort. I am grateful for your patience and continued support during these times of great uncertainty.
“Please be reassured that we are still here if you need us for an emergency, however overnight we had numerous calls to our Force Control Room asking what these new measures mean.
“I must stress that it is vital our emergency 999 and non-emergency 101 phone lines are kept free to deal with crime related issues.
“When we have the answers, we will share these with you through our numerous channels including social media, on our website and through Your Community Alerts (www.yourcommunityalerts.co.uk) – a free messaging service where you can sign up to receive emails.
“If you are a victim of crime please continue to report it online at gloucestershire.police.uk, using 101, or in an emergency, 999 – and we will respond as normal.
“You can also keep up to date with information and advice on www.gov.uk/coronavirus and locally from our partners at Gloucestershire County Council where a community help hub has been set up for those who need support or can offer help https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershires-community-help-hub/
“Once again thank you for your continued support and please help us, cooperate with us and lets all do everything we can to save lives and protect the NHS.”