Thank you to everyone who is making a big effort to follow the government’s instructions to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. This is a difficult time for us all but staying at home will make a difference to the National effort to tackle this awful virus.

I’d like to thank Kent’s Police Officers, Staff and volunteers for the way they have responded to this unprecedented national emergency. I am tremendously grateful for all of the effort they are putting in to keeping the public, yourselves and victims of crime safe from harm.

I also commend them for the way in which they have all dealt with the new regulations which the government brought in. We all know that some will look to find what they believe to be reasons to criticise policing and paint them in a negative light nationally, based on a few isolated incidents.

In Kent, I believe the Police are upholding the founding principle of policing by consent by effectively engaging and encouraging people to adhere to the rules.

I am talking very regularly with our Chief Constable and his Chief Officer team to make sure they have all the resources, finances and kit that they need to help get through this emergency. I’ve been supporting them by sourcing local suppliers of PPE and sanitiser – on top of what they’re procuring and finding themselves.

Together we are monitoring crime and antisocial behaviour, the COVID-19 engagement and enforcement guidance, staff welfare and absence.

This includes the disgusting attacks on emergency and key workers from lowlifes who claim they have COVID-19 in an effort to threaten and intimidate. I’m pleased that a cross party group of 16 Kent MPs has written to Kent’s judiciary to express their view that anyone who does this should be imprisoned. I know emergency workers will welcome this significant support.

My team has been working with charities and others who provide support for victims of crime and ensure that they have certainty of funding during the difficult economic climate that we face. We are liaising with other agencies involved with the criminal justice system, mental health and community safety on a regular basis.

Nationally, I have been involved with regular calls with the Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, where we have been discussing PPE, testing kits, domestic abuse and the courts, amongst other things.

And the new national procurement company I chair, BlueLight Commercial, has played a role in co-ordinating the supply of equipment. I’m pleased to report that there’s more supplies for Police forces on the way thanks to national collaboration.

Thank you again to Kent residents who are observing the stay at home rules and keeping each other safe by doing so. And thank you again to emergency and key workers who are keeping us safe and vital support services going during this national emergency.

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