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PCVC amends plan to support Constabulary response to ongoing pandemic

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PCVC amends plan to support Constabulary response to ongoing pandemic

The Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) Mr Steve White has agreed with the Chief Constable an amendment to the ‘Work Plan’, to ensure that the Constabulary is held to account effectively during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The ‘Work Plan’ sits behind the Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan, and adds actions under each priority. Those actions are how the PCVC asks Durham Constabulary to deliver the outcomes and priorities in the Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan. The PCVC then holds the Chief Constable to account on these actions at monthly Executive Board meetings.

The amendments to the Work Plan are focused around how the Constabulary will adapt, and respond effectively to the changing environment of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, whilst maintaining the principle of policing by consent and independence from the government.  The close monitoring of the amendments will also ensure that the Constabulary can respond to the recovery from the pandemic as quickly as possible.  The amendments include:

-        Ensuring that the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the officers and staff is a top priority.  This includes the adoption of appropriate working practises including social distancing and the provision of PPE. 

-        Effective response to changing trends in crime and Anti-Social Behaviour.  Particularly around the potential increase in domestic abuse cases and fraud. 

-        How working with our most vulnerable people will be suitably adapted.

-        How practices will be changed within the custody suites to protect detainees.

-        How to communicate the Durham Constabulary approach to enforcing the Government’s social distancing instruction and maintain policing by consent.

Steve White, Acting Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner said: “Durham Constabulary have stepped up and responded very well to the COVID-19 pandemic so far.  These amendments to the work plan will ensure the force has the support it needs to continue to respond effectively and appropriately as we travel on our journey through this pandemic, and it will enable the Constabulary to recover from this as quickly as possible.”

“During this time, police officers and staff are working in an environment like nothing we have ever experienced.  The people make Durham Constabulary the great organisation that it is.   The mounting pressure of the situation will inevitably start to take its toll which is why we need to be ahead of the game in the support we have in place for the health and wellbeing of our staff.  What has been done so far has been excellent but I need to ensure that we can do maintain this throughout the pandemic.” 

“Crime is changing, and I am concerned about victims of domestic abuse, as home isn’t a safe place for everyone.  Help and support is still available so I urge people not to suffer in silence.  Help is available for victims of domestic abuse through our support service at Harbour, but in an emergency always ring 999.” 

It is a legal requirement for the PCVC to issue a Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan, after consulting with the Police and Crime Panel.  An Acting PCVC cannot issue a Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan or vary an existing one.  However an amendment to the ‘Work Plan’ can be made to respond to changing demand.  This amendment does not need to be approved by the Police and Crime Panel, however the PCVC has liaised with the Police and Crime Panel and they are supportive of the inclusion of actions to help the Constabulary focus and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chief Constable Jo Farrell said:“I have welcomed the amendment to the plan by the PCVC, as it reflects the impact the pandemic has had on policing.”

“Crime doesn’t stop just because we have been told to stay at home. Crime is changing and the force is very much open for business. Arrests will still be made, investigations will continue and people will be charged.”

Posted on Thursday 30th April 2020
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