Police force put contingency plans in place after Covid-related sickness

Simon Bailey, Norfolk's chief constable, who has released an updated video message to the county Pic

Simon Bailey, Norfolk's chief constable, who has released an updated video message to the county Picture: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

Moving officers and diverting services are part of Norfolk police force's contingency plan following a rise in Covid-related illness.

Norfolk Police has reported at present 6pc of its 1,490 officers staff were currently off work for coronavirus-related reasons. 

The force confirmed a member of staff working inside its control room has tested positive for coronavirus resulting in a number of staff having to self-isolate.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said plans were in place to deal with shortages but it will be the force's "biggest challenge" yet.

He said: "It is clear that coronavirus is more prevalent in our communities than ever before and as an organisation, we are not immune to this.

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"Our officers and staff are part of those communities and since December we’ve seen a rise in our sickness levels, with increasing numbers of our workforce testing positive or having to self-isolate.

"We have detailed plans in place to deal with staff shortages, to make sure we can continue to deliver our core services and while responding to urgent calls and protecting people from harm.

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"However, there’s no doubt this will be our biggest challenge yet since the start of the pandemic and my message to the public is please work with us. Let’s do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus.

"We all have a part to play in keeping people safe, our friends, family and loved ones, as well as the wider community, many of whom will play essential roles in public services such as policing, health care and teaching."

A force spokeswoman said contingency plans are forecasted on a sickness rate of 20pc.

The spokeswoman said: "Our contingency plans are forecast on a sickness rate of 20pc and does include moving officers into different roles and if we need to, we can divert resources from non-essential functions to make sure we continue to deliver our core services, respond to urgent calls and protect people from harm.”

Earlier this week Andy Symons, chairman of the Police Federation, said in addition to prioritising frontline health workers and society's most vulnerable police officers should be given "an appropriate priority".

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