Covid-19: Merseyside PCC praises force’s ‘first-class’ response to pandemic

Jane being interviewed

Merseyside Police’s handling of the global Coronavirus pandemic has been ‘first class’, the region’s PCC has said as she continues to scrutinise the force’s response.

Jane Kennedy oversees and scrutinises the work of Merseyside Police through a variety of mechanisms, including quarterly Force Inspection meetings and fortnightly one-to-one’s with the Chief Constable. During the Covid-19 crisis, these meetings have been held virtually, and she has also remotely attended high-level briefings with Chief Officers to assess the issues and challenges caused by the epidemic and how they are being dealt with by the force. At the start of the outbreak these meetings were held daily.

Key issues that have arisen include how the force is working with the public on the emergency legislation introduced during the Coronavirus outbreak designed to control the spread of the disease and the 4E’s approach which sees officers engage, explain and encourage residents to follow the guidance, only using enforcement as a last resort. Other topics have included the provision of PPE and equipment required for officers and staff to continue to deliver the same level of service safely and monitoring crime trends, such as domestic abuse, in light of the unique circumstances generated by the lockdown.

Jane said: “Holding the Chief Constable to account for the management of the police response is one of my key roles and while the way I do this has had to adapt in light of the restrictions imposed on all of us during the pandemic, I have been continually impressed and reassured by the way Merseyside Police has risen to the challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Merseyside Police is consistently assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as the top performing urban force in the country, and I am in no doubt these high standards of service have been maintained despite the unique and exceptional circumstances they have had to contend with. It is clear their handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been first-class and I applaud the Chief Constable and his team on steering the force through this unprecedented time.

“They have had to grapple with emergency legislation relating to public gatherings, the distances people can travel from their own front door and even seeing members of their own family – all things we normally take for granted and would not expect to be a matter for the police and they have done it in a practical and common sense way, without putting officers and staff at unnecessary risk.

“My abiding thanks also go to the officers and staff who have acted with professionalism, strength and indomitable courage throughout this crisis. Their sense of public duty and service has shone throughout this time of emergency. The commitment to public service is exemplified by the high availability of staff and officers, making themselves ready to be deployed to keep us safe at even higher than normal levels, with consistently over 91% of the organisation committing to keeping us safe in the face of the same stresses we have all endured.

“Merseyside can be proud of their police force.”