Police chief implores Shropshire public to heed lockdown instructions
The Government's lockdown will be enforced in a "professional and appropriate manner", according to the region's police chief, who has implored people to heed the restrictions.
The Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, Anthony Bangham, made the plea in a statement in which he confirmed the force had declared a major incident across the patch following the Prime Minster's national address.
The Chief Constable said they did not want to have to take enforcement action but would do so if required.
Mr Bangham has also moved to reassure people that the force will still be protecting those who are threatened or in danger.
He said: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, we are working with government and policing colleagues at a national level to fully understand and see how best these new measures will be enforced should this be required. But I want to reassure our communities that any action will be carried out in a professional and proportionate manner.
“I understand that this might temporarily alter our relationship with the public and our communities, and therefore I implore each and every one of you to adhere to the instructions given by government as it would be preferable not to have to take any enforcement action.
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"However, should it be required, we will take the necessary action as we must always make the safety of the vulnerable our priority. Please work with us, our partners, your neighbours and wider communities to overcome the challenges we all face during the next few weeks with patience, compassion and understanding."
He added: “We are here 24/7 and will respond to you as and when you need us but we have today moved to a more critical level of policing in our force and some functions will have to reduce in order for us to reprioritise our emergency response. We understand that these new restrictions will also place added pressure and strain on families and individuals but there is support for you.
"If you feel threatened or in danger, or you need the police for any reason we are on the end of the phone. We do want to ensure we are keeping our emergency 999 number and our emergency responders free and available for those in need, so if you need to report non-urgent crime or information, please use our website and report online.
“Thank you to all our communities for your patience, understanding and the wonderful neighbourhood spirit that we are seeing demonstrated across West Mercia. Keep looking after each other and together we will be successful through this difficult time.”
West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion also encouraged people to listen to the government advice.
He said: “We all have our part to play in easing this situation and reducing the burden on the police. I have confidence that West Mercia Police will do what is necessary, but change in behaviour is what will get us through.
"People will start to see more uniformed officers out on the streets playing a key role in keeping communities safe. I urge people to heed the advice given by the Government and police to reduce the pressure on the emergency services where possible.
“I am reassured by the steps being taken by the force during these uncertain times, and will continue to work closely with them and ensure they have the resources they need to support our community as we beat this virus together.”
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