YouTube videos and jokes about Corona Virus and fizzy drinks all seem a bit flat following the Prime Minister’s ‘lockdown’ statement on Monday night. We might even have to find a new word for ‘unprecedented’ as events lead us into unchartered territory, if not by the hour then certainly each day.

‘Finding humour in even our darkest hour is in our DNA’

As communities find a way of binding together, I am sure What’s App groups will still be are awash with images of people putting a brave face on self-isolating because finding humour in even the darkest hour is in our DNA. Prior to Mr. Johnson’s statement to the nation, and interspersed with public service messages, the supermarket where I shop was playing ‘Walking back to happiness!’

However, whatever the immediate future brings, as Police and Crime Commissioner, I can reassure you that I have every confidence that the vast majority will do the right thing, that the police will rise to the challenge and that there will be no breakdown in law and order.

Through my regular meetings with the Chief Constable, I have witnessed the Constabulary’s plans for keeping people safe and that work continues daily in the finest traditions of the force. The model of policing in Gloucestershire has always been neighbourhood policing.  So, when people ask me, ‘Will that continue or not?’ the answer is ‘Yes’.

‘Anyone guilty of scamming the most vulnerable deserves the severest punishment’

Safeguarding the elderly is one of the six priorities of my Police and Crime Plan. As older members of our community have been identified as particularly vulnerable, I have asked the Chief and his team to ensure they are protected against people who would try to scam them during their time of isolation. I have also written to key pillars of the judiciary, including the Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, suggesting that anyone found guilty of defrauding the most vulnerable should receive the severest possible sentences. I am sure the public would expect nothing less in these difficult times.

With regard to the economic effects of Corona Virus, the Constabulary has promised me it will pay its suppliers promptly whilst my office will continue to do all it can to support the voluntary and community sector. We have important links with many local organisations through the Commissioner’s Fund and the OPCC will do all it can to help them through this difficult period and when it’s over – whenever that is.