Information from West Area Command Unit:
Superintendent, Claire Clark
Thank you for your continued support over the past week. As you will have read, the main stories over the weekend have been related to social distancing. From a policing perspective, our policing plan remains the same and Met officers are continuing to carry out their daily duties as well as support and assist our colleagues in the health authorities.
The Government confirmed today (Monday, 23 March) that Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where hospitality businesses do not follow current issued guidance.
Local government will be responsible for enforcing regulations with those businesses asked to close on 20 March 2020 in accordance with the new guidance issued.
As you will be aware, businesses including pubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos were told to close from 21 March, as part of the government drive to reduce the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
Under the Business Closure regulations introduced on March 21, officers will have powers to prosecute for breach of regulations.
Please continue to ask your communities, residents and/or stakeholders to keep reporting any hate crimes they have been subjected to or seen.
It is extremely important that we record all offences in order for us to provide the best support available to victims.
Whilst we have seen a number of instances of COVID-19 related hate crimes, there is not a significant number in comparison to other types of hate crime. We are of course monitoring this closely and responding as per normal.
Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.
We would like to reassure you that we continue to work with businesses and security teams to protect the security of buildings, both residential and non-residential (now that many of these are closed). Local officers will be working in communities to reassure and advise on crime prevention strategies.
Officers have been called to a number of supermarkets due to overcrowding. Please remember to remain vigilant and our advice is to take care of your possessions in these circumstances. It is a common criminal tactic for pickpockets to operate in busy or crowded areas.
Please also remind your people and communities to be vigilant around cash points when withdrawing their funds. Our officers are also aware of these potential issues and will be visible at relevant places. We are not aware of these specific tactics being used in our BCU, but I thought I would take the time to remind you of appropriate crime prevention advice.
As ever we also ask our partners and the public to be our eyes and ears on the ground and let us know if you have any concerns at all.
Lastly, we ask you, as ever, to work with us to support communities, particularly those who may be vulnerable or who may find staying at home without their usual support systems difficult.
We thank you for your continued support and wish you well.