Proactive Covid patrols lead to increase in engagement with the public
Proactive patrols of police community support officers are allowing Wiltshire Police to increase our public engagement around the Government's Covid-19 restrictions.
Over the past month we have seen an increase in the number of interactions with members of the public, as well as verbal warnings, as we step up our targeted work around the four Es - engage, explain, encourage and enforce.
Between 28 September and 25 October we have:
Created 385 Covid-19 logs, which are made up of phone calls and online reports about potential breaches. Of these, 28 were calls for assistance to help enforce the face covering legislation.
Recorded 155 interactions, which is where officers approached members of the public to engage, explain and encourage compliance. Of these, 100 related to not wearing a face covering, 54 related to large gatherings and one regarded a failure to self-isolate.
Issued 105 warnings. Thirteen of these were to businesses not complying with the regulations.
Issued four fixed penalty notices. Two related to failure to self-isolate and two related to people gathering in groups of more than six.
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said the figures for the past month coincided with the introduced of targeted PCSO patrols and a more detailed recording system within the Force.
He said: "It is important to recognise that this rise in interactions and warnings is largely down to the fact that we have recently introduced our targeted PCSO patrols, specifically designed to improve engagement with our communities and ensure we are able to respond swiftly to any concerns raised about people not adhering to the rules.
"We have also improved the ways we are recording these interactions, to make sure we are seeing an accurate picture of engagement and verbal warnings, and I anticipate that these figures will rise over coming weeks as we continue to reinforce these recording practices.
"Although we know that the vast majority of people have taken on board the Government's restrictions and understand their importance, it is clear that there is a minority who are deliberately flouting the rules and are putting other members of the community at risk, and it is only right that we take action against them. The risk of the virus continues to be prevalent in our communities and it is incumbent upon us all to play our part in stopping its further spread."
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also released its latest crime data today (28/10).
The report, which looks at the figures for the year ending June 2020, includes the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on crime and people's perception of crime during the lockdown period of April to June 2020.
Here in Wiltshire we have seen a five per cent drop in all crime over the past 12 months, which is exactly in line with the national figure.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "It is no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on crime figures and policing, and this data released by the ONS just reinforces our understanding of how lockdown affected the Force.
"While, we have naturally seen a drop in crimes such as shoplifting and burglary, due to people staying at home, our officers had more capacity to carry out proactive work to tackle the issue of illegal drugs - so we saw a 37 per cent increase in drug offences.
"It is also clear that, despite a drop in crime during lockdown, which has had a big impact on these annual numbers, we have now almost returned to the same levels of demand we were seeing pre-Covid."
He added: "The issue of domestic abuse is something which is also worrying us, as we know that this is an under-reported crime and is something which will have affected more and more people during the pandemic.
"This is something the Force has been taking incredibly seriously, and I would urge anyone who reads this and needs help and support, to please contact the police - there is help out there, please don't suffer in silence."