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A message from Chief Constable Ian Hopkins
First and foremost I would like to say a big thank you to all frontline workers who are continuing to lead the response against COVID-19 and keep members of the public as safe as possible during these uncertain times.
We are currently facing a very unique situation and this week has been another challenging one for Greater Manchester Police as we adapt our policing style to ensure that we are providing an effective service. As with any other large organisation, we have seen a considerable number of our workforce self-isolating or off sick, which can place an additional strain on reduced resources.
The calls coming into our control room which require an urgent response have reduced; however we are seeing an increase in the number of reports relating to potential breaches of Government guidelines on social distancing and isolation.
You may have seen comments I made in the media earlier this week advising what our approach to potential breaches will be. Our initial approach will be to engage with any person or licensed premises found not abiding the guidelines before explaining why these rules are important and encouraging them to follow them. If they are not compliant, then as a last resort we will move to an enforcement stage using the appropriate legislation to review licenses or issue fixed penalty notices.
We will continue to support and work closely with you and will continue to police by consent, but we will enforce the emergency legislation brought in this week where necessary.
There has been a large increase in the amount of reports made using the Live Chat service on our website and I want to encourage the public to continue using this and 101 for all non-emergency situations. We are answering Live Chat messages between 30 to 60 seconds, so it is a really effective way to communicate with us.
Thank you to everyone who has been doing this already in an effort to reduce the demand on our emergency call handlers, who are already working extremely hard to continue to support our response to incidents.
One of the key challenges ahead for us will be responding to incidents with reduced resources as the full impact of COVID-19 continues to take hold of our workforce. In order to deliver the most effective service we can, we will still be attending incidents in line with our grading system and conducting primary investigations but some of those will not be progressed further. In these instances, we will still provide victims with support to help them cope and recover but unfortunately we won’t be able to conduct a secondary investigation.
This is not a decision we take lightly and I understand there may be some concern about this but it is very important that we prioritise those incidents that involve members of our communities that need us the most. I want to stress that this is a temporary measure and we will return to our previous position as soon as we are able to.
One of the many things that make Greater Manchester a fantastic place to live is the togetherness and support we have for each other during difficult times, and I hope that this can continue in the coming weeks and months.
Thank you and please remember to stay safe.