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Further questions answered over the coronavirus epidemic

3 Mins read
BT Coleraine

The PSNI have answered a further three frequently asked questions.

How has ‘lockdown’ impacted on reports of domestic abuse?

ANSWER: Detective Superintendent Anthony McNally from the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said: “During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic there is no doubt that people will be spending more time at home or in a domestic setting, which will at times create potentially stressful situations.

“At this stage we are not seeing a significant increase in domestic abuse calls, for example from 25th March to 31st March we received 567 domestic abuse calls and when we compare this to 1st April to 7th April we received 583 Domestic Abuse calls – this is an additional 16 calls from the previous week. These figures show that domestic abuse calls are remaining at levels consistent with the expected weekly average. However we are in the early phases here, and we are aware from other places that there has been a rise in domestic abuse during periods of restrictions. **

“I would continue to appeal for people to remain calm during this time and reassure victims of domestic abuse that we are here for you. Please speak out so you can help to stop it happening.

“As the Police Service, it is our job to keep people safe. Our role is to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, children and other vulnerable people and to bring offenders to justice.

“Domestic abuse is a crime and until victims are aware there is a safe environment to share their concerns, they will continue to hold on to the secret of domestic abuse.

“Anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse can contact police on the non-emergency 101 number or 999 in an emergency. We also have the Silent Solutions Service which enables a 999 caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, to press 55 when prompted.

“A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is also available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past on 0808 802 1414.”

To view the Police Service Domestic abuse ‘Speak out to Stop it’ animation please click here https://youtu.be/vj31gMwlduA

**These are operational figures and are subject to change.

What safety precautions are in place for students at the Police College to protect against Covid-19?

ANSWER: ACC Tim Mairs said: “As I explained to the Justice Committee yesterday (Thursday 9 April), the Student Officer Training Programme is critical to PSNI sustaining our operational resilience during the current public health emergency. The health and safety of our student officers and staff is of paramount importance and in order to protect their wellbeing, we took a number of actions in March in line with government and public health guidance.

“As a result of these measures, intake numbers were slowed to ensure social distancing arrangements could be implemented and maintained. The footfall within the Police College site has also been reduced by 66%we have implemented a training plan across a number of sites and non-essential staff are working from home.

“As well as introducing virtual and remote learning arrangements, we now also have smaller classroom sizes; start times and breaks are staggered; hand-sanitiser stations are widely available and there are two-metre separation indicators in common areas.

“The Police College is an adult learning environment, developing professional police officers who may be required to support the policing response during the next few months. While we are satisfied that we are balancing the need to develop competent police officers alongside the expectation of a safe working environment, we are not complacent and will continue to review these arrangements on a daily basis.”

Has PSNI received reports of people apparently preparing to make use of caravans in seaside resorts this weekend?

ANSWER: Police have received a small number of complaints regarding caravan use in Northern Ireland.

We are aware of concerns within the local community about residents at local caravan parks. Rest assured that we have been liaising with the caravan parks and have engaged with the small number of people who are staying there to ensure they are there for valid purposes and their stay is within the NI Executive regulations.

Where a site is found to be breaching the regulations, police will in the first instance ask the business owner to close. There is, however, a power for police and any person designated by DOH to issue a prohibition notice requiring the person to cease trading and if they do not do so, they may be issued with a penalty notice, incorporating a fine.

We all have our part to play in supporting each other through #COVID19. We will continue to conduct patrols and vehicle checkpoints and engage with the public to ensure that everyone understands and is adhering to the direction from our government.

For the small numbers of people who are continuing to ignore the restrictions it is inevitable that we will have to move to enforcement through the issue of penalty notices.

If you have information or concerns that Covid19 regulations are not being adhered to you can make an online report at
www.psni.pnn.police.uk/covid19 and we will take appropriate action.

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