Police help to support the vulnerable

NEIGHBOURHOOD policing teams are supporting visits made by council staff to vulnerable people in Woking identified as being at greatest risk during the coronavirus crisis.

Officers are helping establish the needs of individuals in the borough and liaising with local services to ensure these are met.

Police officers out and about on the bikes in Woking town centre

“The numbers of these visits are gradually increasing as vulnerable people are being identified,” said the Surrey Police borough commander, DI Andy Greaves. “Please help us to help your family and friends if they are alone, by keeping in regular contact with them via telephone, text and social media, so that no one is isolated.”

Local police have also been talking to as many people as possible across the borough, travelling on cycles and on foot. On one recent day, the team covered more than 120 miles, patrolling even the most-hidden alleyways and car parks.

Surrey Police said the number of crimes reported over the four-day Easter weekend remained low as communities across the county overwhelmingly followed the government’s COVID-19 advice.

The force did deploy a ‘sky talk’ drone to break up a group of 30 people not observing social distancing in Walton-on-Thames on Friday 10 April. The drone plays a pre-recorded message of “Attention, this is a police message. You are gathering in breach of government guidelines to stay at home in response to the coronavirus. You are putting lives at risk. Please disperse immediately and return home.”

The group left without officers having to take further action.

DI Greaves said there had been a lot of discussion with members of the public about the new powers given to the police during the pandemic. “Our officers will, as we always do, seek to engage with the public first to understand the situation as it’s unfolding in front of us,” he said.

“If we are concerned about any potential breaches of the government regulations, we will seek to explain the importance of abiding by the rules and the potential impact on the NHS of not sticking to the rules.

“Our approach is working and the Chief Constable, Gavin Stephens, has been very clear that we will only use these powers as a last resort.”

He added that the impact of the lockdown restrictions on the population was not underestimated. “We are therefore so grateful for your support with complying with these restrictions, and encouraging your family and friends to do the same to keep people safe. We are all in this together.”

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