Over the past few days, Police Scotland’s chief constable has made clear his commitment to ensuring our communities remain safe during the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
As divisional commander for North East Division, I want to take this opportunity to echo his words and stress the significant amount of work being carried out to ensure we are prepared for the days and weeks ahead.
The National Co-ordination Centre is fully operational, supporting multi-agency arrangements and identifying resources to support and strengthen local policing.
At such a challenging time, the value of a single police service is clear, and national and specialist resources are on hand to assist our division when and if the need arises.
We are also assessing a number of options locally which will allow us to maximise resources for frontline policing and ensure officers can be swiftly deployed to where they are needed.
We are also liaising closely with local authorities and health and social care partnership colleagues to co-ordinate support for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Our officers and staff are displaying great strength and resilience as they support the vital work of health professionals and we are doing everything we can to support them, including helping gain access to keyworker’s childcare, so we can maintain our resilience over this critical period.
We need to do right by the officers and staff who have already shown the utmost professionalism and dedication during this challenging time and will be flexible wherever possible to support them.
Police Scotland continues to urge the public NOT to call 101 or 999 for guidance on Covid-19 – misuse of these numbers could cost lives.
For accurate guidance, visit NHS 24 – or the Scottish Government websites
Over the coming weeks and months, there is no denying that the demand on us all will only increase, but I can assure you that we will continue to provide the best service possible and deal appropriately and robustly with those who break the law.
If someone reports a crime, be assured that it will still be dealt with but perhaps in a different way as we increasingly prioritise our demand to reflect the exceptional needs of this pandemic.
For example, if you are reporting a minor crime you may find it’s dealt with by officers on the phone, however we will always aim – where at all possible – to find ways to assist those who are particularly vulnerable.
You will be aware that officers in Scotland were required to impose emergency closure orders on a number of licensed premises which chose not to follow government advice.
This sort of selfish behaviour is unacceptable and the police action was prompted on public safety grounds.
We will continue to work closely with local authorities and other key partners on collective plans to enforce the emergency legislation being enacted by government.
Every member of the public should also follow the instructions not to gather in groups and exercise once a day.
These are not draconian measures – they are necessary to keep Scotland safe and well and officers will be in your community, on routine patrols, urging people to follow the instructions from government i f necessary.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the ongoing support we are receiving from our communities.
There is no denying this is an unprecedented situation, with significant challenges for each and every one of us, however I continue to be heartened by the show of community spirit in the north-east as we all strive to help each other get through this, in particular the older and more vulnerable.
The outstanding work of our colleagues within health and social care cannot be underestimated.
Please follow the guidance, stay safe and take care of yourself and those close to you.