'Hold your nerve' urges Shropshire police boss over 'freedom day uncertainty

A police boss is urging the county to stay vigilant around Covid rules as "freedom day" appears increasingly under threat.

Supt Stuart Bill is based in Shrewsbury with West Mercia Police
Supt Stuart Bill is based in Shrewsbury with West Mercia Police

Much like the rest of the nation, Salopians have been clinging onto the hope that restrictions will be fully lifted on June 21 and we can return to something resembling pre-pandemic normality.

But suggestions have been made that the fourth stage of the government's road map out of lockdown could be delayed by at least two weeks, as concerns grow over the Delta variant of the virus.

That, coupled with the hot weather and the European Championships football tournament kicking off on Friday, has given police cause for concern.

Superintendent Stuart Bill says the force is well prepared, and heaped praise on county folk for their attitude so far towards the restrictions. But he called on Shropshire people to hold their nerve.

"We're all excited," he said. "We've got the Euro's coming and the better weather. Professionally and personally I'm really looking forward to getting out and meeting the public in Shropshire over the coming months.

"The public have overwhelmingly been great so far, but we need to carry on. We just need to hold our nerve."

He added: "When it comes to major events like the Euros, it's not something that we prepare for the week before. It's something we're thinking about months in advance. It's about supporting the community as best as we can on that.

"We're moving towards stage four, and there will be all this change and the better weather. We just need to keep going."

Shrewsbury-based Supt Bill moved across to the patch around a month ago. He is a local policing area commander for Shropshire, tactical firearms commander, post incident manager and a public order bronze and silver commander.

"The majority of my month has been spent meeting partners. For example, I met the director of public health for Shropshire, so if there's a need for us to come together, that link is already there.

"There are lots of different parts of Shropshire that need our attention. It's my job to make sure that happens, and to understand the community and the officers so we can deliver an effective service.

"We are absolutely privileged to cover Shropshire," he added. "It's also a low crime area. My job is to make it a bit better."

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