Coronavirus: Norfolk’s chief constable calls on public to help stop people dying

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:55 24 March 2020

Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk police. Picture: Archant

Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk police. Picture: Archant

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk’s chief constable has urged the public to abide by the government’s lockdown to help stop the NHS getting overwhelmed and prevent people from dying.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered that people adhere to a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus which has so far claimed the lives of more than 330 people in the UK.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday night, the prime minister detailed a short list of reasons why people can leave their homes as he ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials.

Mr Johnson threatened police fines for anyone who failed to adhere to the lockdown and today Norfolk’s top policeman has called on people across the county to follow the advice.

Simon Bailey said: “The measures announced last night by the prime minister are around saving lives and protecting the NHS.

“I would encourage everyone to listen to what he had to say.

“I would like to think the vast majority of people would understand why he made such a major and bold decision.

“I think the vast majority of people will obey the instructions.”

Mr Bailey said that over the coming days and weeks, his officers would be engaging with everyone that they see using the opportunity to ask people what they were doing and asking “why are you out” as “that instruction was to protect you, to save lives and to give the NHS the breathing space to be able to manage this virus”.

Mr Bailey said legislation being worked on would come in at the end of the week but insisted they would be policing by consent.

It was a situation he described as being “absolutely unheard of” but said they had to work with people to make them understand that these measures were ultimately “for everyone’s benefit”.

He said: “Just think about everyone else. Just understand that this is not a virus attacking just the elderly and frail - and we’re seeing evidence of that - and lets do our best to stop the NHS getting overwhelmed and let’s do our best to stop people dying”.

Mr Bailey warned if police needed to enforce new measures when introduced then “we will have to enforce them” but said he just hoped that “people listen”.

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