Commissioner Cressida Dick speaks about the coronavirus:
The spread of COVID-19 is of huge concern to everyone, causing fear and uncertainty – none of us know quite how it will affect our families and our lives. The new Government advice yesterday underlined the gravity of the challenge and the need for everyone to behave responsibly and look after ourselves and each other.
At the Metropolitan Police Service we are responding, planning ahead and – as ever – working around the clock to help keep Londoners safe.
The fast-moving nature of this pandemic presents many challenges that are new. But I want to reassure you that much also remains the same. Our brave, dedicated and professional officers are, and will be, out there on our streets and supporting your community.
We are here to support people and to continue to perform our primary function – to protect lives and prevent crime wherever we can.
We are working closely with Government at the highest level to respond to the outbreak and to ensure our policing work supports wider efforts in what is a rapidly-evolving and difficult to predict picture. Everyone within the Met is absolutely determined to continue to provide the best possible public service.
I have appointed one of the country’s most experienced police officers, Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, who has been a police officer in London for more than 37 years, to oversee our response.
He is working with a team of senior officers to assess how we stretch and flex the organisation to prioritise demand, support our officers and staff and continue to focus on my number one priority – bearing down on violent crime.
We will also continue to do everything we can to keep our staff fit and well, following the public health guidance and equipping them with protective equipment where we should and can.
Londoners can help us by looking out for each other, supporting us and our fellow emergency services and keeping up-to-date on the latest advice from the Government and health authorities.
You should familiarise yourself with the many different ways you can contact us in non-emergency situations, such as using our website. This will help free officers and call handlers to attend to those who need us the most.
Policing has always been about responding to risk and balancing priorities with finite resources – and doing so as safely as possible.
The men and women of the Met joined “the Job” to help people and that is what we will always do. Like the city itself, the Met is deeply resilient. We have many challenges facing us but we will meet them with our usual positivity.
This is not the first time that London has faced a crisis and I think back to the response to the terrible terrorist atrocities of 2017. In the darkest of times the values of tolerance, unity and kindness shone through. They will serve us well now.