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Leicestershire Police's Chief Constable, Simon Cole, has spoken following the latest Government guidance around Covid-19.
He said: “This is an unprecedented time for everyone across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The challenge we’re facing is like no other in our 180-year history.
“Without doubt, this is one of the most unusual things I have had to deal with as a police officer, and the same goes for the rest of my team. We are continuing to work flat out – both to deal with incidents relating to the Coronavirus and everyday policing issues.
“However this is a challenge we, as a united community, can overcome. I, like you, saw the statement from the Prime Minister and the message is clear – stay at home.
“The message given last night is one that’s been repeated many a time, not just by the Government but by healthcare professionals – and, as your Chief Constable, it’s a message I fully endorse. If we all work together, we will succeed. We need to help one another.
“And you can help us too. Please, use common sense.
“Government guidance states you should only leave home for essential shopping, any medical needs and travelling to and from work if absolutely necessary. You should only leave to undertake one form of exercise a day and not congregate in groups of more than two people.
“Our policing is based on talking to you – the people in our communities – and listening to your thoughts and concerns. This is something we will continue to do as I firmly believe it is the best approach.
“Our officers will have the power to disperse groups in order to assist with social distancing. But don’t be alarmed. These are powers that have been available to us for some time and are commonplace, particularly at weekends when we’re policing the night-time economy.
“The process is exactly the same – the only thing that’s changed is the circumstances in which they can be used.
“If you don’t co-operate, you do run the risk of a fine. But it’s easily avoidable. Please, co-operate with us, our partner agencies and with one another and we will get through this together.”