“The reality is, we resolve issues every single day, by talking to people and reasoning with them and I assure you that approach will continue.” - Chief Constable Winton Keenen
Our Chief Constable, Winton Keenen, has today revealed how our Force will continue to engage with you during these “unprecedented times”.
He said: “As we already knew them to be, these truly are unprecedented times and that has been further reinforced by the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday evening.
“We really are, all of us, dealing with a national health emergency and this has led to plans being worked-up to give police new powers to ensure we all comply with the strict stay-at-home restrictions that have now been put in place.
“I know many people will have questions about when and how the police will use the new powers, if the need arises.
“From the outset I want to make it clear that the officers who would be required to deal with failures in compliance with any new legislation are those same officers we all see, day-in, day-out, protecting and serving our communities; whom now, more than ever, are working tirelessly to maintain our core-policing services.
“While the finer details of the legislation are being finalised and we await guidance, I am optimistic everyone across our region recognises the need to act sensibly and responsibly in a unified approach to prevent spreading the virus and the terrible consequences it can have.
“Policing in this country is founded on a mutual respect, with high levels of public and community engagement; this being particularly so here in Northumbria. The reality is, we resolve issues every single day, by talking to people and reasoning with them and I assure you that approach will continue.
“However, if it becomes the case that people are putting others at risk because of their own activities then we will, where necessary and appropriate, make use of whatever legislation is available to stop this from happening – indeed, I believe this is what you should expect of us.
“Information about the restrictions now in-place can be found on the Government’s website and we are expecting further details in the coming days.
“I find myself increasingly making reference to the fantastic community spirit we have across our region and this will undoubtedly play a big part in getting us through these difficult times - the truth is, we need to come together now more than ever, so please work with us so we can all keep our loved-ones safe.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has also issued a statement.
She said: “Across our region, along with the rest of the UK, we are being asked to adjust to a new, temporary, way of life that is designed to keep us and the people we love safe in a time of danger.
“As we learn more about the full impact of how these new restrictions are implemented and policed, one thing will remain true – if we support each other we will get through this.
“That means backing our police as they seek to protect us – for example, where possible, contacting the Force for non-urgent enquiries online instead of calling 101. But absolutely in an emergency always dial 999. It means staying home to give our NHS the best possible chance at keeping us safe.
“Covid-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our way of living, but here in Northumbria, we have deep-rooted values of caring for one another which makes our people and our place special and that will see us through.
“I’m sure we will hear more shortly about what the new restrictions will mean in detail, but for now it is imperative that we follow the available Government guidance.
“The Chief Constable and I will continue to work together to make sure our police force has what it needs to do its job and to ensure your local priorities are met as much as possible during these challenging times. Please stay home, stay safe, protect our NHS and support our police force.”