COVID-19 FAQs

With the current situation regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are living in unprecedented times. With this in mind, we have pulled together some of the more commonly asked questions you might have.

Please visit GOV.UK/coronavirus for the latest official guidance and announcements.

We are also eager to remind victims of domestic abuse that you are not alone. If you need support and advice, please visit our domestic abuse help page.


We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Sub Sections

  1. Tourism and second homes
  2. Travel
  3. Exercise and recreation
  4. Daily Life
  5. Crime
  6. Police response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
  7. Police officers and staff
  8. Day-to-day police work
  9. New emergency legislation
  10. Supporting our community
  11. Useful links

 

Tourism and second homes

Are you going to stop tourists visiting?

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. However, we urge you to please respect our communities and go home or somewhere else if it is busy. As of Monday 14 September, groups of more than six people will not be able to meet indoors or outdoors, unless they are part of a single household or social bubble, or one of the other exemptions applies – you can find out more about this on the gov.uk website.

Hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and other types of accommodation are allowed to welcome guests and one household is allowed to stay overnight at another household, as long as they do not form a group of more than six people in doing so.

Can I stay at my holiday home or second home?

You are able to stay overnight in holiday homes and second homes. This should be with your own household or social bubble, or in a group of no more than six people from different households.

Can I go on holiday in my campervan or go camping overnight?

Yes, as of Saturday 4 July campsites are allowed to open and you are allowed to stay overnight in your campervan or go camping in a tent. Please be sure to follow any social distancing measures in place.

 

Travel

Can I travel on public transport if I avoid peak times?

Yes. However, you should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible. If you do need to use public transport, it is mandatory that you wear a face covering. Staff working on public transport are also advised to wear face coverings.

The Government has created safer travel guidance for passengers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check with your local transport provider before setting out on any journeys as they may have updated their timetables and be running fewer services.

Read more about using public transport.

My car is due for an MOT. What do I do?

From 30 March 2020 until 31 July 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans were extended by six months to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Vehicles due an MOT on or after 01 August 2020 are subject to different guidance.

You must make sure your vehicle is safe to drive (‘roadworthy’). It can be unsafe even if your MOT expiry date has been extended.

Read further MOT information on GOV.UK.

I am a university student living away from home. Can I travel to relocate to the family home?

One household is able to stay overnight at another.

If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.

Can I go shopping with a member of my household or do I have to go by myself?

It’s important that we all reduce our day-to-day contact with people outside of our own household or social bubble, so if you can go alone that will help cut down potential chances of contact with others.

When you are outside of the home, make sure you try to stay two metres apart from anyone outside of your household where possible. If this is not possible, try to keep one metre or more distance with additional measures (e.g. wearing face coverings, not directly facing others) to reduce the risk. More information can be found on GOV.UK.

The law requires people to wear face coverings in some enclosed places, including shops, transport hubs, banks and post offices. Staff working in retail are also required to wear face coverings.

Can more than one person travel in a car to get to and from work?

If you normally share a vehicle with people from other households for essential journeys, we recommend you find a different way to travel. For example, consider walking, cycling or using separate vehicles if you can.

If you have to travel with people outside your household group, try to share the transport with the same people each time and keep to small groups of people at any one time. You should also consider wearing a face covering as recommended in recent Government advice.

Find more guidance around using private cars and other vehicles on GOV.UK.

Will police be managing public car parks?

No. The responsibility for the management of these sites is with local authorities.

Please check your local authority’s website for details around opening times.

The public are reminded that they must not obstruct the highway and remember that emergency service vehicles including police, fire and ambulance may need to pass through the area in an emergency.

The police will respond to calls from the public as usual. Those that have been the victim of a crime, or are in situations where a crime is in progress, should contact the police as usual.

What measures are in place when people start travelling from overseas?

International travel restrictions are in place to help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. While restrictions are different for different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, those coming to England on or after 8 June must:

  • Provide journey and contact details using the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before arriving.
  • Present the details in the completed form on arrival to England.
  • Self-isolate at the place they are staying for the first 14 days (except in very limited situations.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel and you should not travel if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

There are a number of countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel – you can find a full list on GOV.UK.

What powers do the police have to enforce the travel quarantine regulations?

Passengers arriving the UK will be contacted regularly by Public Health England to ensure they understand the requirements and are self-isolating. If anyone is suspected of breaching the restrictions, their details will be passed on to the central triage team and police forces will be asked to visit the individuals address.

As always, our approach remains to engage, explain and encourage, and only where necessary enforce.

Do I have to use a face covering on public transport?

Wherever possible, people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some this may not be an option. Face coverings are required for passengers while using public transport in England. There are exemptions for children under 11, emergency workers in the course of their duties, and where a person cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness, impairment or disability. Staff working on public transport are also advised to wear face coverings.

Face coverings are not the same as face masks and it is important that people do not use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff. More information on face coverings can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Are the police able to enforce the use of face coverings on public transport?

Management of wearing face coverings will largely be a matter for public transport providers who will engage with those using their services.

If police intervention is required, we will continue to take the approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance to these regulations and will only enforce as a last resort.

 

Exercise and recreation

Can I swim in the sea?

You can take part in watersports, including swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea. Outdoor public pools were allowed to open from Saturday 11 July, with indoor pools able to open from Saturday 25 July.

The RNLI currently have a limited coverage of lifeguards at beaches in the region – you can see a full list on the RNLI website.

We would urge anyone planning a visit to the coast to follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
  • If individuals are choosing to go sailing or yachting it is important to ensure that equipment is properly checked and serviceable before going afloat.
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Please take care when in the water and be aware of your own abilities. Our emergency services are already stretched and should a lifeboat crew be called to an incident in the water, it would put unnecessary pressure on our volunteers and other front line services being exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Can I go surfing?

You can take part in watersports, including surfing. Read more on the GOV.UK website.

The RNLI currently have a limited coverage of lifeguards at beaches in the region – you can see a full list on the RNLI website.

Please take care when in the water and be aware of your own abilities. Our emergency services are already stretched and should a lifeboat crew be called to an incident in the water, it would put unnecessary pressure on our volunteers and other front line services being exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We would urge anyone planning on going surfing follows the advice set out by Surfing England.

Can I go canoeing for my daily exercise?

You can take part in watersports, including canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Read more on the GOV.UK website.

British Canoeing, the national governing body for canoeing in the United Kingdom, has issued this statement (correct at Wednesday 15 July):

“We recommend that members continue to follow the government and public health guidelines. We also want to remind members that if you or anyone within your household has coronavirus symptoms, you should continue to self-isolate.

“Whilst we understand the temptation to drive to your favourite paddling place, we urge our members and all paddlers to paddle locally, to take extra care and to paddle responsibly.”

Read the latest advice on the British Canoeing website.

Can I go angling?

Yes. The Angling Trust have prepared guidance on how to get fishing again safely. This guidance should be followed by all anglers, clubs, fisheries, coaches and guides.

Competitive sea angling can also now resume, and the Angling Trust have put together guidance to allow this to happen safely.

Visit the Angling Trust’s Angling Support Hub for more information.

Am I allowed to go boating?

The Canal and River Trust has stated that the waterways in England are open from 4 July. Where local lockdowns are required, specific areas may have different rules.

Please be sensible and use the waterways only within the limits of your ability. Our emergency services are already stretched and should a rescue crew be called to an incident in the water, it would put unnecessary pressure on volunteers and other front line services being exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Should police stop people from meeting with different households?

From Monday 14 September, groups of more than six people will be unable to meet. This includes indoors and outdoors, and in public and private spaces. There are some exceptions, as detailed below:

  • Those who live together or members of a two households which form a social bubble.
  • For work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services.
  • Registered childcare, education or training.
  • Supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups.
  • Providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person.
  • Providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm.
  • To continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents.
  • Fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service.
  • Elite sporting competition and training.
  • Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions - up to 15 people, in a public place.
  • Funerals - up to 30 people.
  • Other religious and belief-based life cycle ceremonies - up to 30 people, in a public place.
  • Organised sport or exercises classes or licensed physical activity – only those taking place outdoors are exempt from the rule of six. This does not include informal sport or fitness activity with family or friends - this must be limited to a group of 6.
  • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people - formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
  • Protests - if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance and organised by a business, charity, a public body or a political body.
  • Attending a person giving birth at their request.

There is no exemption for children and they should be counted as part of the group of six.

Where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means - for example - a tradesperson can go into a household of six without breaching the limit, if they are there for work.

Venues such as pubs and restaurants can continue to host more than six people in total, but when visiting you should not mix in groups of more than six, unless it is as part of one of the above exemptions.

When meeting people from outside of your household or social bubble you should follow social distancing guidelines. This means keeping two metres apart, or at least one metre with additional measures. You should limit the number of people you see in a short space of time.

The public should show civic duty and common sense to protect the NHS and will save lives.

Police give guidance on the Government advice, but only enforce the law. They also must do so with common sense and proportionality based on the particular situation, their engagement with the individual and always keeping in mind the purpose of regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

If I can socially distance, can I play sport recreationally with someone I don’t live with?

You can exercise or play sports outside in groups of up to six people from other households or with as many members from a one other household to your own, but should aim to maintain a two metre gap from those you don’t live with, or at least one metre with additional precautions. There is more information about outdoor sports and recreation on the gov.uk website.

Competitive team sports can still go ahead but there will need to be clear plans in place to mitigate risks. There is more information about recreational team sports on the gov.uk website. Outdoor exercise classes are able to continue with more than six people.

Indoor fitness and dance studios and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities are able to be open as long as they have been made COVID secure. Classes can continue to go ahead as long as class sizes are limited to six people, but they must have measures in place to ensure social distancing and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The GOV.UK website has more information about staying safe in gyms and leisure centres.

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

 

Daily life

Can I attend a funeral?

Although many businesses are closed, you can still attend funerals as long as numbers do not exceed 30 people.

You should still keep two metres between every household group or social bubble (which counts as one household) where possible. If this isn’t possible, you should keep a distance of one metre or more with extra precautions (e.g. face coverings).

What are police doing if the businesses that are not allowed to reopen refuse to stay closed?

Most businesses will be able to remain open or reopen, with safety measures in place, from Saturday 15 August. However, some businesses are required to remain closed by law, including

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

New restrictions were put in place from Thursday 24 September, meaning certain businesses must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This includes:

  • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants)
  • Social clubs
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys
  • Amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities)
  • Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
  • Bingo halls

This also includes takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, are responsible for enforcing regulations requiring these businesses to remain closed.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards can issue prohibition notices where businesses do not follow these restrictions. In addition, businesses who fail to comply can also receive fines. Continued non-compliance could then lead to the loss of alcohol licenses.

Under the Business Closure regulations introduced on 21 March 2020, officers will have powers to prosecute for breach of regulations.

You can report businesses that you believe should not be open to:

Can I still move house?

Anyone who wishes to move home can now do so. Guidance on ensuring that moving, and key activities such as house viewings, can happen safely can be found on GOV.UK.

If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolating you should delay moving home.

How do you prove that someone is in the same household as you?

The rules have been designed to protect people, not to catch people out. Our approach is to engage, explain and encourage people to comply with the rules, and proof may not be deemed necessary.

One household of any size or up to six people from two or more households can meet outside. There are some exemptions to this which can be found on the gov.uk website.

If a large gathering is asked to disperse, officers may also make reasonable judgement as to whether these people are part of one or more households. For example, a group of ten teenagers are unlikely to all live together, whereas three adults and four children could reasonably be from the same household. Of course, we appreciate that this is not demonstrative of all households and there may be exceptions to this, but reasonable judgement must be applied.

I am separated from the mother/father of my child who has custody. Am I able to visit my child?

The new regulations state “children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangement for access to, and contact between, parents and children”.

Any existing visitation arrangements that are in place can continue.

I have a tradesperson booked in to carry out work, is this allowed?

Work carried out by tradespeople can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.

It will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two metre distance, or a one metre distance with additional precautions, from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety. If this isn’t possible, you should keep a distance of one metre or more with extra precautions (e.g. face coverings). Make sure that everyone washes their hands before and after they touch any surfaces.

Those who are carrying out duties as part of their job are not included as part of a gathering and therefore are exempt from the rule of six.

I visit homes to care for dogs and take them for walks. Am I able to continue offering this service?

As long as you are able to implement social distancing measures, you are able to continue offering this service.

There is more information for people with animals on GOV.UK.

Can I still go to a place of worship?

Places of worship can continue to remain open for communal worship, including prayers, devotions or meditations led by a Minister of Religion or lay person. These should be limited based on the capacity of each place of worship and people must not mingle in groups of more than six, other than those they live with or are part of a social bubble with.

Marriage ceremonies and funerals can continue. Weddings should have no more than 15 attendees, including the couple getting married but anyone working is not included in the legal limit. Funerals must not have any more than 30 attendees.

Other significant events must adhere to the rule of six, unless they are as part of routine communal worship. In these instances, they should follow the same rules on communal worship.

Can weddings go ahead?

Wedding ceremonies and receptions can go ahead but must not exceed 15 people, including the couple getting married. Anyone working will not be included in these numbers.

Wedding celebrations can only happen when people follow the guidance of six people outdoors, support bubbles or two households indoors or outdoors.

You can find more information on GOV.UK.

Can I go shooting?

The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) have advised that deer stalking, pest control, conservation and seasonal work on game shoots are possible as long as they are legal and in adherence to the social distancing measures. More information can be found on the BASC website.

If you are required to go shooting for the above reasons, please be sure to email 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk or call 101 in advance, with details of:

  • Who (names of all people attending, vehicle registrations and contact numbers)
  • Where (land it will take place on)
  • What and why (e.g. fox shooting for livestock protection)
  • How (firearm used, whether lamp, thermal or both)
  • Time (start and finish)

Facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities, including shooting ranges, can now reopen if those responsible for them feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely, and in line with related public health guidance.

Am I able to open my gym/fitness studio for private/individual sessions?

Indoor fitness studios, gyms, and other indoor leisure centres or facilities are able to be open as long as they are COVID secure. Groups of more than six are able to gather for organised sports, physical activity and exercise classes outdoors. However, indoor classes must follow the rule of six. You can find more information about this on the GOV.UK website.

How can police be sure that people are being honest about meeting with those from other households?

We trust the public to be honest with us and to continue engaging with us positively, as they have been to date - but of course officers will be inquisitive where necessary.

Everyone has a responsibility and a civic duty in respecting the terms of this lockdown. Thousands have tragically lost their lives, and we would expect a degree of maturity from the public in continuing to observe the new rules. Most have been very sensible, and we thank them for the personal sacrifices they’re making.

Where we see clear breaches, we will act appropriately.

Are you policing social distancing?

The police can only enforce the regulations. Social distancing is Government guidance and people need to take individual responsibility for following it.

Can I have visitors to my home or in my garden?

As of Monday 14 September only groups of up to six people from two or more households are allowed to meet outside and in gardens or private outdoor spaces. You should continue to ensure that social distancing is adhered to.

The new legislation means that groups of more than six people are no longer permitted to meet indoors or outdoors. Single households or social bubbles can meet in groups of more than six people.

Can I use equipment when visiting my friends or family’s garden, for example tables, chairs, climbing frames or paddling pools?

You should not be sharing garden equipment with people outside of your household because of the risk of transmission. You could bring your own or ensure they are wiped down carefully with household cleaner before and after use.

You should also avoid sharing toys and sports equipment, as well as paddling pools and private swimming pools, with people outside of your own household.

Can I share food and drink, including having a picnic or a barbeque in an outdoor space?

Yes, but stay alert. You should not use plates or utensils that someone from another house has touched - either bring your own or ensure you have thoroughly cleaned them before using. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels if possible.

Picnics, barbeques or other gatherings, whether they are indoors or outdoors, are not permitted to take place for groups of more than six people from two or more households.

Will public toilets reopen?

Councils are responsible for public toilets and this decision is up to them. You should avoid using the public toilet where possible. If you need to use any of these facilities, you should practise social distancing and good hygiene (i.e. washing your hands thoroughly).

Are people allowed to protest during the pandemic?

The right to lawful protest is a key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate. We have robust and proportionate policing plans in place so that we can work with communities and those taking part wherever possible. Under the latest legislation changes around gatherings, protests are one of the exemptions for gatherings of more than six people. Such protest must have been organised by a business, charity, public body or a political body and comply with COVID-19 secure guidance.

Personal responsibility is key – for those who are able to leave their homes, you should think carefully about where you are going and how you are able to keep distance from others.

I live alone, am I allowed to meet others who don’t live with me?

Single adult households (including single parents with children under the age of 18) are able to form a ‘support bubble’ or ‘linked household’ with one other household. Those in the social bubble can act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time inside each other’s homes, including staying overnight, and do not need to stay two metres apart.

Social bubbles must be exclusive and you cannot switch households. If anyone in the bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the isolation guidance.

Groups of more than six people are not allowed to gather indoors or outdoors, unless they are part of a single household or social bubble, or for one of the permitted exemptions. You can read more about this on the gov.uk website.

Am I allowed to visit outdoor attractions, such as zoos, safari parks, drive-in cinemas and theme parks?

Outdoor attractions, including zoos, funfairs and theme parks are allowed to open. Indoor areas, such as reptile houses and aquariums, are also able to remain open.

When visiting any attraction, remember to social distance from other you do not live with or have formed a social bubble with. When visiting, you should not be in a group of more than six people unless you are part of a single household or social bubble.

The latest rules means that these types of businesses must remain closed between 10pm and 5pm. Face coverings must be worn by visitors and staff.

What restrictions are there on the pubs and restaurants that are now able to reopen?

Any businesses that are able to reopen after being closed due to the Coronavirus legislation must make sure that it is ‘COVID secure’ by taking necessary and reasonable precautions to protect staff and customers. There are various things that could be put in place, including increasing space between tables, the inclusion of screens at tills or bars or a requirement to wear face coverings. This may look different for each business, depending on their needs, but they must comply with any measures required to make sure their premises is COVID secure.

These venues can still facilitate more than six people in total, but groups visiting should not exceed more than six people unless they are part of a single household or social bubble. You should keep at least two metres distance from those you don’t live with, or at least one metre with other precautions.

Licensed premises are required to have food and drink ordered from and served at a table, and customers must eat and drink at their table. Face coverings must be worn by customers, except when seated at a table to eat and drink. Staff must also wear face coverings whilst working.

Any business that sells food or drink is required to close between 10pm and 5am. This includes takeaways, but delivery services can continue after 10pm.

We understand that many want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit pubs and bars as soon as possible, especially after having been unable to do so for so long. We of course want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves, but we must remember that COVID-19 is still a serious risk to health. As such, people need to continue to follow the Government’s guidance to mitigate the transmission of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following the instructions of staff.

We urge people to drink responsibly, follow the guidance set out and maintain a safe environment for everyone. Know your limits, plan your day and consider how you will get home safely. Anti-social and criminal behaviour is not acceptable and police continue to work with the night time economy to maximise safety and cut crime.

Do I have to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets?

Yes, if you are able to do so. As of Friday 24 July, the law in England requires people to wear face coverings in some enclosed places. This means that unless individuals have exemptions, a shop can refuse entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. People who are exempt from wearing a face covering include, but are not limited to, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities. Retail staff are also required to wear face coverings.

What happens if I don’t wear a face covering in a place where it's meant to be mandatory?

The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual. We expect that the public will follow these regulations to help everyone keep the spread of the virus under control.

Businesses and their staff should encourage customers to wear face coverings inside their premises. If someone without an exemption refuses to wear a face covering, a shop or business has the option to refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. We hope this will not be necessary but if the police are called we will endeavour to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules. Enforcing these regulations will always be a last resort.

Now that some businesses are starting to reopen, does that mean I can start going out shopping for non-essentials again?

With restrictions starting to ease, people are able to do more of the things they enjoy. From Monday 15 June, all shops can reopen, but must ensure that they have been made COVID-19 secure. 

You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. If you are visiting shops or other businesses that are allowed to be open it’s important that you follow social distancing guidelines and adhere to any measures that have been put in place. From Friday 24 July face coverings are mandatory in some enclosed places, including shops, transport hubs, banks and post offices. Staff in retail must also wear face coverings.

Visit GOV.UK for more information about the new face coverings regulations in England.

Do workers in retail and hospitality need to wear face coverings?

The latest change to legislation now requires retail and hospitality staff to wear face coverings at work.

Customers are still required to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets and a range of other indoor environments, and this has now been extended to hospitality venues. This means that face coverings are required, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

Do I need to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles?

Yes, face coverings are now required when travelling in taxis and private hire vehicles, unless you are covered by an exemption. You can find more about this on GOV.UK.

Taxi drivers are encouraged to wear face coverings whilst carrying passengers.

Can I still order and consume food and drinks at the bar in my local pub?

Licenced premises are required to have food and drink ordered from and served at the table, meaning that you can no longer go to the bar to place your order. Customers must remain at a table to eat and drink in any premises selling food and drink to consume on site.

Face coverings must be worn unless sat at a table to eat or drink.

Do I have to download the NHS Track and Trace App?

There is no legal requirement to download and use the NHS Track and Trace app. However, it will help to monitor the spread and alert you and others of when there may have been contact with the virus.

You can find more information about the app, and how to download it, on the NHS website.

Businesses need to display the NHS QR code posters so that those who are using the app can ‘check-in’ at the premises they visit.

My business has to close to the public between 10pm and 5am, but can staff stay on site to clean up or carry out admin tasks between these times?

Yes, as long as the business does not continue to provide its services to customers. For example, as restaurant must stop serving customers at 10pm but staff may remain on site to clear away tables and finish cleaning.

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can conclude performances after 10pm, as long as they started before this time.

What do the new three-tier alert levels mean?

With the ever-changing situation around local lockdowns, the Government have introduced local COVID alert levels to help local authorities, residents and workers understand what they can and can’t do, and how best to manage outbreaks in the area. More information about the COVID alert levels can be found on the gov.uk website, but generally:

  • Medium level is for areas where national restrictions are in place.
  • High level is for areas with higher levels of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.
  • Very high level is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. These restrictions can vary and will be based on discussions between central and local government.

All areas in Devon and Cornwall are currently in the medium level.

 

Crime

Is there a heightened risk of fraud and scams?

Yes, we have already seen some instances of fraudsters taking advantage of the situation with reports of telephone scamming and phishing emails.

We are working to ensure the public have the information they need so they are not caught out by opportunistic thieves/scammers.

Phishing emails: There have been reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details. Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

Shopping online: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

There is additional information and updates regarding fraud on the Action Fraud website.

Where can I report email and online frauds and scams?

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service - report@phishing.gov.uk - which will make it easy for the public to forward suspicious emails to the NCSC – including those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.

Report other sorts of scam to the national policing hub Action Fraud.

In both cases, reporting scams and suspicious communications is important, as every piece of information received helps to build an intelligence picture of criminals who would capitalise on the coronavirus lockdown, and thus helps national poking services to shut them down.

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

What sort of suspicious emails, texts, online activity and other scams related to the coronavirus outbreak should I be aware of?

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

Scams based on “NHS test and trace”

Phishing emails relating to the government Test & Trace service have been reported nationally. Some scam text messages relating to Test and Trace are also reported to be in circulation. Remember: Test and Trace staff will NEVER ask you for financial details, PINs or passwords, they will NEVER visit your home and they will NEVER do any of the following:

  • Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • Ask you to make any form of payment
  • Ask for any details about your bank account
  • Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • Ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • Ask you to purchase a product
  • Ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
  • Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS

Members of the public can send their suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and the NCSC’s automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site. Any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.

Protect yourself

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

They can contact you by phone, email, text, on social media, or in person. They will try to trick you into parting with your money, personal information, or buying goods or services that don’t exist.

If you are approached unexpectedly remember to:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
  • You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.
  • The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account. They will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.
  • Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
  • Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops. Update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you don’t have to worry.

More advice from the professionals

Visit the National Cyber Security Centre website to find out more. You can also read the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Business Guide: Cyber Security for more advice on how to keep your business secure online.

Detailed counter fraud advice is available online, including from Scamsmart, CIFAS, TakeFive, Citizens Advice and Trading Standards.

There is bespoke advice about COVID-19 fraud on the Action Fraud website. Reporting to Action Fraud can be done online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040

Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599. Check HMRC-related phishing, or bogus, emails or text messages against examples published on GOV.UK

How should the elderly and vulnerable protect themselves from opportunist thieves/fraudsters coming door to door?

Being a good neighbour is important, and communities are rallying around to support each other. However, there may be those who seek to exploit the situation also.

Volunteers working with the health and emergency services will be in possession of the necessary DBS arrangements before commencing placements and will be assigned to roles where indemnity cover is in place. They should all have documentation proving their status.

Community volunteering to provide assistance to those most vulnerable in meeting their daily needs will also be likely in the coming months. If people have doubts about those who are approaching them, and are concerned, we advise that they don’t engage and report serious suspicious behaviour to police. The majority of groups are well intentioned, and will be working through charities or through a local authority and should have proof that they are doing so.

There is additional information and updates regarding fraud on the Action Fraud website. Theft offences should be reported using our online channels.

What crimes would you no longer respond to? Will you stop arresting people?

There are no crime types that we would no longer respond to and the police will NOT stop arresting people. Each contact to the police for help will be risk assessed. Priority of response will be given to maintaining public order, situations of violence or where life is in danger and where a very vulnerable person is involved. We’re asking the public to be patient as we may take more time to follow up report relating to lower-level crimes.

As a result of social-distancing regulations, it is likely that forces will see a shift in crime patterns – this includes online offences and fraud. As always, we will prioritise available resources from the areas where demand was previously high (such as the night-time economy) to the areas which need it now.

Are you expecting a rise in crimes such as domestic abuse?

Yes, sadly this is likely with more people staying at home and isolated from other friends and family. We are currently running a campaign to raise awareness of this issue so please keep an eye on our social media channels.

Domestic abuse is considered a serious crime and the police service is committed to the safety of victims and children during this time of crisis. We want you to seek and receive appropriate support when you need it.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, you should call 999. You can get help and support on our website or access the national domestic abuse helpline or support services online.

Are you seeing a rise in hate crime because of this virus?

In Devon and Cornwall we have not seen an increase in hate crime. However we know hate crime and incidents can be under-reported and Devon and Cornwall Police is encouraging victims to come forward in confidence either directly to the police, to supporting agencies or through third party reporting centres.

If you are a victim or witness of a hate crime or incident, please report it online. Alternatively if you wish to speak to someone call 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can get in touch in the following ways:

  • Emergency – SMS/text 999 or textphone/minicom 18000
  • Non-emergency – SMS/text 67101 or textphone/minicom 18001 101
  • Our website also provides a webchat function

You can also report anonymously through TrueVision, or get support from StopHateUK, including British sign language reporting and a 24/7 helpline.

For further reporting options, support and information, including easy read documents and reporting forms, visit: devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/threat-assault-abuse/hate-crime/

Nationally there has been no increase in overall hate crime, however there has been a rise in hate crime directed towards Asian communities.

Is video conferencing safe for businesses and to stay in touch with family and friends?

There is no doubt that video conferencing is becoming more and more popular, whether for business or to connect with friends and family.

Some devices have video conferencing built in, such as Apple’s FaceTime, and there are many other standalone video conferencing apps which you can download such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others.

We have put together a guide to staying secure when using these apps and we encourage you to share it with your friends and family or employees: devon-cornwall.police.uk/video-conferencing

Please follow the Devon and Cornwall Police Cyber Protect team on Twitter @DC_CyberProtect for the latest updates.

Visit the National Cyber Security Centre website for further guidance on video conferencing.

Will the easing of lockdown measures lead to crime going up again?

As things slowly return back to normal, yes, we would expect to see a return of things we have come to experience in the past. Ultimately, any changes to regulations from now will mean more people are out and about. We are ready to meet any increase in demand, at whatever pace it comes. As ever, we ask the public to stay vigilant, and keep reporting crime to us.

I’m a victim of a crime, does the rule of 6 mean that I can no longer attend my support group?

You can continue to attend support groups, as this calls under one of the exemptions for the rule. You can find further information on the GOV.UK website, including the full list of exemptions. Numbers should be limited to 15 people.

 

Police response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Are you going to start arresting people?

There is a power of arrest under the new legislation, which will we will use as a last resort. Our approach will be to maintain our education and engagement approach to persuade individuals to comply with the direction set by Government rather than having to enforce it, as it is in all of our interests. However, if we are left with no other choice, we will arrest people if there is no other option and we have the lawful basis to do so.

Do you want us to report groups of people we see?

Government guidance states that gatherings should be limited to members of two households, or no more than six people from different households when outdoors, and only members from a maximum of two households indoors. It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups provided they comply with the law. If you are concerned that you have seen a gathering which contravenes this, we would encourage you to contact us by emailing us via our 101 form on the Force website.

Will you close take away food vans?

Takeaway food can continue to be offered.

As of Saturday 4 July restaurants, pubs and hotels which offer food to eat indoors or in outdoor seating areas are able to open, as long as they are following COVID secure guidance.

Takeaways and premises which offer food and drink to consume on site must close between 10pm and 5am. Delivery services can continue after 10pm.

Would the police be able to respond to severe disorder in prisons?

Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) says it has put in place robust contingency plans. The police work closely with HMPPS and this will continue.

How much will this all cost you, are you applying for special grants?

It’s too early to tell. Forces are keeping tabs on how much additional expenditure this outbreak could lead to. There is an established special grant process in place via the Home Office which forces may consider at a later date.

How are prohibitions for non-compliant businesses playing out?

Police officers are working well with Trading Standards and local authorities in relation to retail enforcements within the new regulations. Local authorities are really assisting us here and we are grateful to them. At this stage, we do not have data on prohibition numbers as it needs to be agreed with local government.

How do I report suspected breaches?

If you are concerned that you have seen a gathering which goes against the regulations, we would encourage you to contact us by emailing us via our 101 form on the Force website.

 

Police officers and staff

How are you protecting officers?

Public Health England has published guidance to first responders and this has been circulated to all police forces for their officers and staff to follow. 

In some scenarios, officers and staff will been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of work-related infection.

Additional PPE is NOT needed for routine policing activities and will not be worn unless dealing with a suspected COVID-19 case. Public Health additionally advises that it is NOT to be worn when dealing with contacts of suspected cases.

PPE which is to be worn when dealing with a person suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 is:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Fluid repellent surgical face mask is recommended (if available)
  • Disposable plastic apron (if available)
  • Disposable eye protection (such as face visor or goggles)

We are working closely with the Government and PHE to manage supplies of PPE like gloves and masks. Questions around stocks of these should be directed to PHE and the Government. Regions are monitoring their stock levels and will redistribute resources where they need to in support of neighbouring areas falling short.

 Are officers and staff working from home?

Where possible, police staff and officers on desk duties, who are not showing symptoms or feeling ill, are able to work from home.

Those who have symptoms and are unable to work, will stay at home and self-isolate.

Are you planning to cancel leave for officers/staff?

Nationally, and locally we have tried and tested plans to respond to a situation like this. This may include the cancellation of rest days and leave.

What is the current level of isolation across the police service?

We will not be sharing isolation rates, as these numbers will ebb and flow over the coming weeks. We are reassuring members of the public that we are coping well and that service continues as normal.

Would you scale back your work?

In order to continue providing core services to our communities in light of the pandemic, we need to maximise our use of volunteers to give us some extra assistance over the coming weeks. Forces will be asking Special Constables if they can volunteer more of their time with the support of their employer. In addition, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have called employers to release more than 10,000 Special Constables to support the police service in managing the impact of the coronavirus.

We have also recently asked people who have previously worked for us if they would be willing to offer their services and skills, in some temporary capacity. This is a fast-changing environment and we are still working to define the critical services we may need.

Are you bringing in the Special Constabulary and retired officers/staff?

In order to continue providing core services to our communities in light of the pandemic, we need to maximise our use of volunteers to give us some extra assistance over the coming weeks. Forces will be asking Special Constables if they can volunteer more of their time with the support of their employer. In addition, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have called employers to release more than 10,000 Special Constables to support the police service in managing the impact of the coronavirus.

We have also recently asked people who have previously worked for us if they would be willing to offer their services and skills, in some temporary capacity. This is a fast-changing environment and we are still working to define the critical services we may need.

Can the masks be used by officers who have beards?

Police officers have been issued with PPE, including face masks, where shaving is not required for their use. A small number of officers in certain specialist roles have masks that are specifically fitted that are not compatible with facial hair. This is not a new COVID-19-related provision. These officers are aware they will need to be clean-shaven if they need to use that equipment as part of their role. If this conflicts with any religious (or similar) restriction, we are working with officers to find appropriate alternatives.

The Government has now advised that people should wear face coverings when out and about, and made them mandatory on public transport, in shops, and in many other indoor places - will this affect police supplies of PPE?

The Government have made it clear that face masks and face coverings are different, stating: “A face covering is not the same as a facemask such as the surgical masks used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers. These supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.”

Therefore, police PPE supply remains unaffected by the face-covering announcement. 

 

Day-to-day police work

Can I still report crime to the police?

Yes. The safety and welfare of local communities remains our top priority.

Members of the public should continue to call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.

If your call is not urgent and can be reported using our online channels, we ask you to do so in order to release the pressure on our emergency lines and resources. We are experiencing high call demand to both our 999 and 101 numbers and our digital services offer you the option to self-report, which will then be prioritised and actioned.

We would advise members of the public to avoid visiting our Public Enquiry Offices unless it is essential. Many of our offices have now closed, with others working to reduced hours.

Members of the public should not call police to report cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and should instead direct their concerns to NHS 111.

Is there a ban on face-to-face meetings? Would that apply to interviewing suspects and taking them into custody?

We have control measures that we can use if we need them. This includes conducting meetings over video or the telephone when it is suitable.

Interviews with suspects would only take place if a suspect was well enough. Officers will have access to PPE like gloves and masks if needed. Sensible and proportionate use of bail and released under investigation will be considered – this would not be used for anyone considered to be a risk to the public.

How will you deal with under 18s not adhering to the Government direction?

We will start off by speaking with them, and encouraging them to comply of their own free will. If necessary, we will liaise with an adult with responsibility for that child or young person. There is a power for us to provide a direction to that adult if it is necessary for us to do so.

Will you be relaxing custody arrangements, letting criminals walk free?

No. We will always arrest and detain where it is necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic officers will consider voluntary attendance rather than arrest in cases where it is safe and proportionate to do so, particularly if suspects are diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19. This would only apply to low level, low risk cases.

If courts refuse to accept prisoners, what will the police do with them?

We are currently looking at this and are working closely with criminal justice partners to make necessary plans. We do not anticipate this will be a significant issue.

Will the police still be executing warrants?

Yes. Forces will be continuing their normal service unless there is a significant impact on our ability to do so. Commanders will be considering the safest approach in each of their operations and will be briefing officers on aspects of hygiene and safety if these are executed.

Does this affect how I report lost and found property?

Our staffing levels are reduced due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the resources are being redirected so that we can best support to the community. At this time we need to make additional efforts to not handle unnecessary items of found property.

Please continue to follow the instruction on our website. At this time we may need to delay the release and collection of found items, and would ask for your understanding and cooperation.

Will the army be brought in to help with enforcement?

There are no current plans for the army to assist with enforcement.

Are you prioritising which offenders are getting charged?

The public are urged to continue reporting crimes to the police as normal. Officers are continuing to work around the clock to keep the public safe and respond to emergencies.

Clearly, at this unusual and challenging time, we are prioritising the most serious of cases for immediate charging decisions. However, it is important to reiterate that we are continuing to investigate crimes as normal.

Can I still get fingerprinted for a visa or passport application?

No. This service has been temporarily suspended.

Members of the public may require fingerprints for visa applications, police clearance or good conduct certificates from abroad. However, due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions we currently do not have the ability to take these prints and as such the public are requested not to attend police stations for this service.

 

New emergency legislation

What powers do police have under the Bill?

A summary of the coronavirus bill impacts can be found here.

Why is the power needed?

The powers are necessary to help manage the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) where a police officer, in the course of their duties, encounters a person who they suspect is, or may be, infectious.

How have the regulations changed in England following the latest Government announcement?

Police officers have been engaging with the public and explaining that following the regulations helps to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives. The efforts of the public mean police officers have rarely had to enforce the Government regulations. We are confident the vast majority will continue to do their bit and follow guidance in this next stage.

Personal responsibility is now key - for those who are able to leave their homes as a result of the changes, think carefully about where you are going and how you will be able to keep your distance from others. Keep in mind the purpose of the regulations and the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives.

Restrictions remain for premises and businesses that are required to remain closed. This includes:

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

Many businesses that are able to open do have restrictions which require them to close between 10pm and 5am. This includes:

  • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants)
  • Social clubs
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys
  • Amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities)
  • Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
  • Bingo halls

This also includes takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm.

Licensed premises now require food and drink to be ordered from and served at a table, and customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume on site. Customers in hospitality are now required to wear a face covering, unless sat at a table to consume food or drink.

NHS QR code posters must be displayed to allow customers to ‘check in’ using the Track and Trace App.

There are stricter rules on making premises COVID Secure, including a wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres and close contact services being subject to requirements by law. Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to work. Staff in hospitality and retail are now required to wear face coverings by law. Face coverings and visors must be worn in close contact services by law. Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers are advised to wear face coverings.

The latest regulations state that gatherings of groups of more than six people from two or more households are no longer permitted, indoors and outdoors. Single households or social bubbles of more than six people are allowed to meet, and there are some exemptions which can be found on the gov.uk website.

As we have throughout the pandemic, officers will aim to engage, explain and encourage, and then, only if necessary use enforcement.

Government guidance around social distancing is not enforceable and the police will not get involved in matters of this nature.

Is this un-enforceable?

No. We will adapt to the terms of the regulations, and will positively engage with the public as we have been doing for the last two months. The focus for police is now narrower - on those activities, which are now not lawful or which are not listed as a reasonable excuse for being outside, such as going on holiday or gathering in groups of more than six people from different households.

The core British principle of policing by consent continues to be at the heart of our approach.  Police will continue to use the approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and, only as a last resort, enforcing – our experience so far is that this is working as a tactic.

Will you be detaining sick people using your new powers?

We have a special relationship with the public in this country. We police by consent, and will continue to do so during this emergency. The public will be thinking about the greater good and we encourage them to follow Government advice.

The Emergency Bill means police officers, in consultation with, or at the request of health professionals, can direct an infected person to go and immediately receive treatment or isolate at home.

It is important to note that the power to detain is not the same as that of arrest. Having this virus isn’t a crime, putting others at risk deliberately is.

How will this affect how you deal with sectioning of those suffering from mental ill health?

The current legislation allows us to place someone under a temporary section of 24 hours. This will be extended to 36 hours. This is down from 72 hours before the time limit was reduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

Do you expect to be given further legal powers?

This is a fast moving picture. The Government and Parliament have the responsibility for legislation, and we are working closely with them.

Do the police have the legal authority to force someone to self-isolate?

The Government intends to bring in legislation that will create a criminal offence if an individual does not comply with the measures, punishable by a fixed penalty notice.  Enforcement by police would only be used as a last resort.

How will restrictions on large gatherings in be enforced?

Policing still has a role where people are gathering in groups of over six indoors or outdoors, as these are restricted by the Regulations.

Officers may direct the gathering to disperse, direct any person from the gathering to return home, and remove any person gathering in a public place to the place they are living.

As throughout this public crisis, officers will engage, explain, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce.

What counts as a public gathering or public space?

Gatherings are public if they take place in areas accessible to the general public, including gatherings in public gardens or parks, public roads, or open countryside.

This does not apply to land if it is operated as a visitor attraction, or part of premises used for the operation of a business, charity or public body. 

When are gatherings of over six people allowed?

Groups of more than six people are unable to meet. This includes indoors and outdoors, and in public and private spaces. There are some exceptions, as detailed below:

  • Those who live together or members of a two households which form a social bubble.
  • For work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services.
  • Registered childcare, education or training.
  • Supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups.
  • Providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person.
  • Providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm.
  • To continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents.
  • Fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service.
  • Elite sporting competition and training.
  • Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions - up to 15 people, in a public place.
  • Funerals - up to 30 people.
  • Other religious and belief-based life cycle ceremonies - up to 30 people, in a public place.
  • Organised sport or exercises classes or licensed physical activity – only those taking place outdoors are exempt from the rule of six. This does not include informal sport or fitness activity with family or friends - this must be limited to a group of 6.
  • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people - formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
  • Protests - if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance and organised by a business, charity, a public body or a political body.
  • Attending a person giving birth at their request.

Venues such as pubs and restaurants can continue to host more than six people in total, but when visiting you should not mix in groups of more than six, unless it is as part of one of the above exemptions. These venues must remain closed between 10pm and 5am.

Will events be restricted?

Local authorities may give a direction in relation to events being held in its area. This could related to a specific event or events of a specified description. This could involve imposing prohibitions, requirements or restrictions in relation to holding an event.

If this does happen, local authorities must take reasonable steps to give advance notice to event organisers and owners or occupiers of the premises it is to be held in.

Events must comply with these directions and we encourage organisers and attendees to follow any directions that are put in place. If necessary, officers will engage, explain and encourage compliance to any restrictions, and will only resort to enforcement as a last resort.

The current rate of spread of the virus means that trials to reopen conferences, exhibition halls and large sporting events have been put on hold.

Will you be monitoring group sizes in bars and restaurants?

Licensed premises are primarily the responsibility of local authorities. Police will respond where necessary.

Will you be attending house parties?

Everyone has a personal responsibility in limiting the outbreak by following the simple rules around gatherings. We will continue to engage, explain, encourage and enforce where necessary.

Do you have a power of entry to see how many people are inside?

There is no power of entry for police under the current COVID-19 rules. There are circumstances where other powers of entry may apply, for example if a serious crime is taking place inside or police need to enter to arrest someone.

Will the latest regulations around gatherings of more than six people require much more police involvement even though demand has risen?

With rising cases we will expect people will want to follow these rules to prevent the spread and that other public bodies and agencies will continue to play their part. As with other COVID-19 regulations, we will follow an approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and only enforcing as a last resort.

What's your relationship with the COVID-19 secure marshals?

The COVID-19 secure marshals are a matter for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. They will report to local authorities and not to the police.

 

Supporting our community

I’ve been offered support from the NHS Volunteer Responders, but how do I know if they’re legitimate?

All recipients of the service will be given clear guidance from the NHS on how to safeguard themselves, but some key tips are:

  • Never open the door to someone claiming to be an NHS Volunteer Responder unless you are expecting them (they will phone ahead)
  • Check the ID on their phone (they will leave it on your doorstep and stand two metres back)
  • If in doubt, ask them to call you. They will have your number in their phone if they are genuinely an NHS Volunteer Responder.

Are there any measures being taken so that disabled people are able to shop safely?

Many supermarkets and shops are putting measures in place to provide opportunities for vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, to get the supplies they need. These measures are set and monitored by the stores themselves.

There are also local volunteer and community groups that have been set up to provide additional support to those who need it – you may find details at covidmutualaid.org. Be sure to find out what your local authority has in place, too.

Remember to check GOV.UK for the latest news and updates.

What COVID-19 (coronavirus) resources do you have for people who use British sign language (BSL)?

Please visit our British sign language resources page for guidance communicated in BSL.

What resources do you have to help explain the new police powers and coronavirus laws to someone with learning difficulties?

The Easy Read section of our website has a guide to the new powers and laws.

Can police refer someone vulnerable to the NHS Volunteers Responders scheme?

NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to provide volunteer support to those clinically most at risk from coronavirus who have been advised to stay “shielded”, and to provide patient transport. It has also been expanded to include other people who are referred from specific individuals and organisations who consider them to be vulnerable for a range of reasons.  This initiative is being delivered on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

Police staff, MPs, some charities, local government and the other emergency services are now among the people who can request help for someone who they consider to be vulnerable whilst in isolation at home, in addition to health and social care staff.

When making a referral online, please use your official email address and select “The police or fire service” from the drop-down box on the referral form.

Once someone is registered for support, the RVS call centre will match up the tasks that need to be undertaken to help people with volunteers who live near to them.

More detailed guidance on who is likely to be eligible for support is set out here. Please read the document before filling out the referral form, which is here: www.goodsamapp.org/NHSreferral

 

Useful links

Local resources

Teachers helpline – child victims of domestic abuse

Operation Encompass Teachers’ Helpline operates from 8.30am to 10am, from Monday to Friday, staffed by a child and educational psychologist or clinical psychologist from Psychology Associates. The number will be 07562250050 and standard mobile call rates will apply. There will be no charge to the teacher or school for the specialist professional advice

Devon

Visit the Devon County Council website for information about local organisations and groups offering support. In Devon residents are being asked to use the local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS). For Exeter visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website. For the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website.

Cornwall

Cornwall Council website provides information about services during this time. Volunteer Cornwall are coordinating help for residents. Residents who are isolating and need help can register with them.

Torbay

The Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care have set up an emergency coronavirus helpline for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help. The phone line covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727. More information is available on the Torbay Council website.

Plymouth

Plymouth has launched the Caring for Plymouth Support Hub. Caring for Plymouth is an alliance between the Council, Livewell Southwest and a large number of voluntary and community sector organisations and will ensure that the medically vulnerable and people without support networks are provided with emotional support, shopping, medicine collection and support with paying bills and accessing money. The phone number is 01752 668000 and people can also fill in a form.

POP has set up a Facebook group for Plymouth community groups and organisations that are supporting the response to CO-VID19. It's proving to be really useful to share the latest advice and guidance and funding alerts. Along with being an opportunity for members to connect, share support, and share concerns around delivery that are being fed into citywide strategic planning groups.

Links to other trusted information sources

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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