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Met commissioner reassures Londoners as Covid-19 transmission accelerates

19 March 2020

Commissioner Cressida Dick has reassured Londoners that the Metropolitan Police will continue to deliver the service they expect following the outbreak of Covid-19.

It comes as the Prime Minister says that transmission of Covid-19 is happening more rapidly in London. 

Addressing the UK, Boris Johnson said London is weeks ahead of other regions in terms of the virus curve, meaning transmission is happening more rapidly.

Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “This is a tremendously worrying time for the people of London and the whole country but we are absolutely determined to continue to provide the best possible public service. I want the public to know we are here for them.

"The Met is here to protect people and prevent crime wherever we can – and we will continue to do that.

"We have a well-rehearsed plan and are a large organisation with the ability to flex and move people and resources to meet the demands we face.

“My senior team has been working extremely closely with Government, City Hall and the health authorities to make sure our plans remain appropriate. 

"Londoners have seen us respond to all kinds of major incidents in recent years and we will always be here for them.”

The Commissioner was speaking while on patrol in Croydon with a team of more than 30 officers as part of work to drive down violence in the borough.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Metropolitan Police Service says that it continues to work closely with Government and others to ensure its response is in line with the fast-developing picture nationally.

The national response is co-ordinated by Public Health England (PHE), closely supported by the NHS. The Met is working closely with City Hall and other partners to ensure that its response is co-ordinated and that its organisation has sufficient contingencies in place to meet the challenges that may lay ahead. 

The Met is a member of the London Resilience Group (LRG), alongside blue-light colleagues from the City of London police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance, local authorities and the Mayor’s Office.

Any incidents involving our officers or individuals suspected of having contracted COVID-19 are being dealt with in accordance with PHE guidelines and any use of special police powers will be in line with National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) advice. 

The Met said in the following statement: "An experienced command team is in place to lead the Met’s response both internally and externally, led by Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons.

"Our robust contingency plans remain under constant review to ensure that we are prepared to deal with issues arising from the impact of any pandemic situation, such as the cancellation or closure of large-scale public events.

"We have the ability to adapt and move our workforce as necessary, and have options available to us should they be required. We will keep our operational capability under constant review and ensure we maintain our core policing duties.

"Our dedicated team of occupational health and health and safety specialists issue daily updates to officers and staff, detailing advice and support to assist in their daily operations. 

"Guidance from PHE has been issued to all our frontline officers and police staff and face masks have been issued to some officers. Officers may make use of personal protection equipment in responding to a call in which COVID-19 is a potential element, the use of which does not indicate or confirm the presence of the virus."