ACC Kerrin Wilson: ‘We want to work with our communities - not against them’

Lincolnshire Police today (Tuesday) confirmed they have yet to issue a single fine or penalty notice during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’.

Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson on the beat at the weekend.

And, the message from Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson, Gold Commander of the force during the current pandemic, is one she hopes will continue.

Some forces have staged roadblocks and used the latest technology to enforce tough Government guidelines restricting movement.

That has led to criticism from politicians, councillors and the general public about the danger of creating a ‘police state.’

However, ACC Wilson stressed Lincolnshire would not be following that same policy - providing people continue to comply with guidelines.

She said: “We want to work with our communities - not against them.

“When this (Covid-19) is all over, we still want to have a relationship with those communities.

“I have specifically told officers to engage and advise.

“It is about engagement first - not enforcement.

“They (officers) will only use the new powers as a last resort.

“You won’t see roadblocks or officers stopping everyone at a beauty spot

“We are in this together. We have to work together and we trust our communities to follow the guidelines.

“However, If people aren’t sensible and don’t follow the advice, then, and only then, will take robust action.”

ACC Wilson revealed staff numbers (including frontline officers) were around 6% down because of the pandemic.

She said plans were in place to bring in extra resources - if that figure went beyond 10%.

She added: “At the moment, we are coping.

“Officers are doing a first class job.

“The fact there is no night-time economy means resources can be employed elsewhere although we are staging more patrols to protect our communities.”

She said a number of options were being considered should absence numbers go above 10%, including a call for retired officers.

ACC Wilson explained plans were in place to cope with a number of other scenarios - including a possible rise in domestic abuse.

She added: “If you are a victim (of domestic abuse) you don’t have to suffer in silence. Ring us and we will help you.”

She stressed the force was still ‘investigating crimes’ but said officers were taking a considered approach regarding face-to-face visits and interviews.

ACC Wilson said all officers had been issued with protective equipment.

She added: “Everyone so far has been very understanding and very supportive and I hope that continues.”

• Only one person has been arrested as a direct result of Covid-19 - a male in Lincoln last weekend who was alleged to have ‘coughed’ at people.

• A full feature on police operations will appear in next week’s paper (April 8).

Current legislation is:

• Officers will be able to disperse groups of more than two people from any public place. Groups of more than two people – who live in the same household – are permitted

• Anyone who refuses to disperse could be given a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days

• Second time offenders will be issued with a £120 fixed penalty notice. This will then double on each further repeat offence

• Anyone who does not pay a fixed penalty notice under the new regulations could be taken to court. Magistrates will then be able to impose unlimited fines

• Anyone who refuses to comply will be acting unlawfully. This may result in being arrested, where it is deemed proportionate and necessary. However, the first instance, police will always apply their common sense and discretion.

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