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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

We are here for you

social distancing

The COVID-19 outbreak has understandably left people feeling vulnerable and uncertain but we’d like to reassure the public that it’s still business as normal at Avon and Somerset Police and our officers and staff are tirelessly working round-the-clock to keep communities safe.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “We’ve never faced a public health emergency like this and the restrictions put in place to keep us all safe will continue to have a big impact on our everyday lives. Understandably, many people are feeling concerned and anxious about the health and wellbeing of their family and loved ones.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh
Chief Constable Andy Marsh

“I want to reassure each and every one of you that we are still here for you. We’ll continue to respond to emergencies and high priority incidents 24-hours a day, seven days a week and we’re still patrolling our communities, arresting offenders and detecting and solving crime.

“Our officers and staff across our force area are patrolling the streets, checking in on businesses and reiterating the Government’s advice and guidance around social distancing.

“Our Special Constabulary colleagues have risen to the challenge and are giving even more of their time to support frontline policing. In addition, our latest Police Constable Degree Apprentice students are joining their patrol colleagues from today, three weeks ahead of schedule, to provide us with extra resilience.

“It was uplifting to see so many messages of support for the emergency services and the NHS in people’s windows. A crisis always brings out the best in people and I speak on behalf of everyone at Avon and Somerset Police when I say that your support and well-wishes are always appreciated.

“Over the weekend, we did receive a small number of reports about businesses flouting the restrictions put in place by the Government to stop the spread of COVID-19. Local authorities have the powers to deal with businesses breaching the regulations and can issue prohibition notices, fines or revoke licences. Our officers will be reminding any businesses ignoring these restrictions of their legal and moral responsibilities.

“Elsewhere it was business as usual, with officers responding to calls, supporting victims, arresting offenders, carrying out missing person enquiries and searching for wanted suspects. Here are just some examples from over the weekend:

  • Officers visited the home of a vulnerable person in Weston-super-Mare to carry out a welfare check on Friday and arrested two teenage boys after recovering suspected class A drugs. The boys, aged 18 and 19, were released under investigation while forensic tests are carried out on the substances.
  • At just after 7.15pm on Sunday we were called to a petrol station on Priory Bridge Road, Taunton, where a worker reported three people had stolen food and threatened them with a knife when challenged. Officers arrested a man and a woman by 9pm. Both remain in police custody at the time of writing. And enquiries continue into offences of theft, public order and possession of a bladed article.
  • We were called at about 11.55am on Sunday by a householder who discovered what he thought was a Second World War mortar bomb in his garden in Berkeley Road, Fishponds. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit were called who removed the item and detonated it in Mayfield Park South, Moorlands Road. 
  • We were called to council offices in Temple Street, Bristol, at just before 2pm on Friday after a man was racially abusive to a member of staff. The man had left the building by the time officers arrived and an investigation is ongoing. It’s being treated as a hate crime and is linked to the coronavirus. The victim is being fully supported. We’d urge victims of hate crime to report incidents to us as soon as possible. There is no place for hate in our communities. You can also report through the True Vision website.

Further guidance: