Letter from Isle of Wight Police

SARAH JACKSON – DISTRICT COMMANDER – ISLE OF WIGHT

Dear fellow Island resident,

I wanted to write to you following the government announcement yesterday evening that the lockdown will be continuing for a further 3 weeks. Firstly, I really want to thank everyone who is following the government guidelines which I am pleased to say is the vast majority of people. We all have a part to play in preventing

the spread of the virus so it is crucial we all: –

  • Stay at home
  • Protect the NHS
  • Save Lives

If you are asking yourself why this is so important – well it is really clear that you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms and we must limit our contact with others to stop the spread of the virus. Sadly this does include not meeting up with others, even friends or family. So the things you can you leave your home for are as follows: –

  • shopping for necessities
  • exercise
  • any medical need and
  • travelling to and from work but only where you cannot work from home

The policing role as well as working in partnership with a whole host of other agencies through the Local Resilience Forum in response to this, is ensuring everyone is doing all they can to stop that spread of the disease in line with those government directions. We are very clear that we police by consent in the country and that is something we cherish and so our approach to gaining compliance is to Engage with the public about their reasons for being out and about; Explain the government guidelines and how what they are doing does/does not fit with those; Encourage them to comply and return home. Only where this is unsuccessful or there have been numerous breaches will we use our Enforcement powers. Whilst we have had occasion to use our enforcement powers on the Island, they have been relatively small in number and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of people have responded positively to our engagement. For those following Isle of Wight Police Facebook page you will have seen the patrol work we have been doing and the updates we have been giving not only on Coronavirus related work but also on normal policing work. We have a great following already and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive about the connection we are making with the community – you do not need a Facebook account to follow us.

We are carrying out patrols across the Island, ensuring that locations where people could gather are regularly monitored and speaking with people who are there. I would urge people to exercise common sense when it comes to contacting us. If there was a mass gathering, we would want to know about it can be dealt with. Where possible, we are asking these are reported online via our website. www.hampshire.police.uk by clicking on the ‘Tell us about’ button. Unfortunately we have seen assaults on officers during this time, most recently four officers were coughed at and the man spat inside a police van. I am pleased to say that has been jailed for six months as a result. Assaults on any key workers are totally unacceptable and will be dealt with robustly. Throughout this time I can assure you that normal policing business continues and we are out on patrol keeping the community safe. We have seen an overall decrease in crime during recent weeks, but I would want to remind people to ensure they are being vigilant and ensuring doors and windows are locked, as are car doors, and that CCTV is working at places like businesses. We have lots of crime prevention advice on our website, www.hampshire.police.uk

Sadly, there have been reports across the country of fraudsters taking advantage of this situation, with reports of telephone scams or phishing emails. We are working with government partners to ensure the public have the information they need so that they are not caught out by opportunistic people. There is lots of good information on scams, which is regularly updated, on the Action Fraud website. One area of crime that research suggested will see an increase is domestic abuse. We are closely monitoring this as protecting vulnerable people and preventing harm remain our priorities, and responding to domestic abuse is, and always will be, part of our core operational response. It’s vital people know that they can still call 999 if they are in danger and we will respond – we are still here. The support services for victims are still available, just being delivered differently. Information on those services can be found at www.iow.gov.uk It’s also crucial that as well as victims knowing there is support for them, anyone who is abusing someone or who feels they might can also get support as well and there are groups available for them to contact as well.

For the most vulnerable residents there is a help line set up by the Isle of Wight Council on 01983 823600 where people, who do not have a local network of support, can seek support. Finally, I appreciate that the announcement of a further 3 weeks of the lockdown is difficult for many people,

for many reasons. I completely understand the desire to see family friends, but I would re-iterate that we must all do our part so please stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. Thank you