It has been an extraordinary last month which is continuing to stretch our health and emergency services to the absolute limit in their efforts to keep us safe from the coronavirus outbreak.
At the time of writing this, we have just moved to major incident footing in the county and Surrey Police have been working around the clock with our partner agencies to respond to what is a rapidly changing situation. I have been in regular contact with the Force’s senior leaders over the last few weeks and have offered any support that my office can provide to help the evolving battle against this virus.
As you would expect, the police together with those other agencies have well-rehearsed contingency and major incident plans in place. But this cannot prepare those working in our emergency services, and of course our wonderful health service, for the immense pressure they are currently facing in dealing with this pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for the professionalism and selflessness they have shown in such demanding and difficult circumstances.
Despite the emergency measures put in place by government, I know that this is a time of great uncertainty for many communities and businesses across the county. The disruption to everyday life is unprecedented but absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this virus.
Our communities will look to the police to provide that reassuring presence and we will do everything we can to provide that support, particularly to the most vulnerable in our society. There is an equally important role for residents to play too in looking out for friends and neighbours, even if that means a quick phone call or text message if it’s not safe to visit. We are already seeing some great examples where communities are coming together to help each other and that is going to become increasingly important as this situation progresses.
Whilst a national crisis will often bring out the best in a lot of people, unfortunately there are also those who will look to exploit the situation. We are already seeing a rise in fraud and scams as some criminals are using the uncertainty and confusion caused by the coronavirus outbreak to target our communities.
The police response must, and will, deal robustly with anyone who is trying to use this time of national crisis to further their criminal ends.
On a personal level, the emergency situation has meant that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place in May have now been postponed for a year. It was absolutely the right decision in light of what is happening around the country.
It does mean that I will remain in post until May 2021 and I pledge to ensure that my office will work together with Surrey Police to do everything we can to support the national response to this pandemic.