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Commissioner Alun Michael responds to Coronavirus pandemic

Last Updated: 23/03/2020

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner, Rt Hon Alun Michael has praised NHS staff, the police, other emergency services and local government for “showing enormous commitment and energy” in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.  And he has welcomed the “common sense and solidarity shown by the vast majority of the public in South Wales”.

He said:

“We currently find ourselves in unprecedented and uncertain times with the Coronavirus threat continually changing and evolving but it has been inspiring to see the way in which so many people have shown enormous commitment and energy in working together to tackle the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable within our communities.

“As the Police & Crime Commissioner, elected by the public, but also as a resident of South Wales I want to say a huge thank you to every individual, across all agencies, for your unwavering effort and commitment in the face of the massive challenges you are all facing professionally and personally at this time.

“During this public health emergency, I remain in daily contact with the Chief Constable and his team to keep up to date on arrangements to support our communities through the crisis while maintaining the operational delivery of daily policing. The powerful ethos of co-operation that exists within South Wales has never been more apparent than it is right now, jointly delivering normal services to our communities whilst being flexible enough to support each other as we adapt to the daily changes that the pandemic has made necessary. 

“It’s important to recognise that this has come about through both design and hard work. South Wales Police has become firmly established as a beacon force in the UK for its contribution to national events and an impressive track record of successfully policing major international events.  At the same time the Force is recognised as a leader in prevention and as having not just protected but promoted neighbourhood policing.  It’s this combination of excellence in policing, leadership in prevention and engagement with our local communities that will remain the hallmarks of South Wales Police – something that I and the Chief Constable are as one in maintaining through the current time of crisis as we support protect and reassure our communities.

“Every minute of every day the professionalism and commitment of our officers, staff and volunteers is focused on maintaining safe, confident, resilient communities - that job has never been more critical than it is right now. As the link to our communities and the cornerstone of our approach to policing here in South Wales, Neighbourhood Policing has a critical role to play through this difficult time, providing reassurance through visibility and tailored engagement in light of current restrictions.

“Whilst the focus for the moment will rightly remain on core frontline services and associated messaging, myself, and my Team, are extremely busy doing everything possible to continue to support communities through these challenging times.

“We remain in close contact with the many organisations we fund through grants and our commissioned services for victims; all are adapting well in light of the latest advice and direction relating to Coronavirus, with staff in many cases working from home to continue to deliver vital support to those who need it.

“The current need to self-isolate and to observe social distancing is bound to lead to some degree of isolation and vulnerability for everyone, and it is important for us to maintain our day-to-day priorities of supporting vulnerable people, meeting the needs of victims and doing all we can to reduce domestic violence and abuse. The threat from substance misuse and organised crime will not disappear while we deal with the demands of this extraordinary public health crisis – so we will do all we can to give people the help they need, when they need it.

“What is absolutely clear is that everyone has a role to play in this current crisis and following the announcement last night by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March there can be no confusion around what is required - adhere to hygiene advice, restrict your movement and if you have good reason to leave your home, strictly follow social distancing guidance. Do not underestimate the impact of these actions, because ignoring advice puts lives at risk and the fact that police have been given powers of enforcement is a message of just how serious it is and that everybody has to obey the rules that have been set down.

“As we adjust to ‘a new normality’ over the coming weeks, don’t forget that police officers and staff are as much a part of our community as the rest of us – they have the same worries about their children, about relatives, about elderly parents as do NHS staff - and like NHS staff they are there to help us not some sort of occupying force.

“Please do all you can to protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping up to date with the latest advice and guidance from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, South Wales Police and our local authority partners.”

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