Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach has reassured the public that vital help and support will continue for the vulnerable throughout the coronavirus emergency.
His comments came as the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Rutland increased from 2 to 3 but the total number of confirmed and reported cases in the country increased by 3,009 to 25,150.
The number of deaths increased by 389 to 1789.
The PCC said essential services for victims and witnesses of crime would still be accessible despite some disruption to operating arrangements to protect the safety of staff and service users.
He also pledged to support providers as much as possible to ensure they can maintain their vital work and continue to step in to help those who need it most.
The Commissioner has written to all partners to establish what their delivery plans will be during the global health emergency to ascertain where critical funding and additional resources are needed in the weeks ahead.
He has also issued a rallying call to the services and projects he commissions, encouraging them to divert some of their existing resources towards alternative work, where possible and where demand has reduced, which will help in the response to Covid-19.
Many services are already responding to the plea and adopting a new focus to support disadvantaged people impacted by the pandemic.
Willy Bach said: “Now, more than ever, we need to support our neighbours and communities and give them the help and attention they need to stay safe.
“It is my duty to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and I will do everything possible to support the services I commission to ensure access to help and advice continues for those who desperately need it.
“During these unprecedented times, we need to pull together and work as one team. This is what community spirit is all about. I fund a vast array of services and have been encouraged by the willingness of so many to shift focus and come to the aid of those suffering as a result of this crisis. This has the added benefit of reducing the demand on the police and other emergency services.
“While our services have had to adapt their working practices, the majority are continuing to offer help and support in some capacity and I will do everything I can to support their efforts, particularly those whose demand has escalated. These are desperately uncertain times for these organisations and we understand their concerns and are working with them to prepare for the future.”
Victim First, the PCC’s free, independent and confidential service supporting victims and witnesses of crime across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is still running with support being provided remotely. All other services to victims or witnesses of crime remain available although these are now largely being delivered remotely via phone/online to comply with social distancing measures. The only exceptions to this are:
Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). These will remain open for victims of sexual abuse who require a forensic examination in person
Target Hardening Service. Home security improvements for vulnerable victims of crime will be temporarily postponed as people self-isolate, until the period of isolation is complete. However, emergency lock changes will continue to take place in appropriate domestic abuse cases.
Services for vulnerable people coping with substance misuse continue to operate although elements of this support are now being delivered remotely via phone/internet. Face to face contact will only continue where deemed absolutely necessary
PCC-commissioned services to support and engage with young people and communities have largely had to suspend their work in their current format however many are working to identify new approaches to services over the coming weeks.
The government’s restrictions to limit social contact and prevent unnecessary travel may increase isolation and fear for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Leicestershire’s domestic abuse services are still available and help and support is available if needed.
If you are already receiving help or support, please contact the service directly for information on changes to service levels. In an emergency where there is imminent danger always call 999.