Police chiefs thank public for sticking to lockdown guidance

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Members of the public across Bedfordshire have been thanked for adhering to the government stay home advice.

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway paid tribute to those who have heeded the advice which has contributed to the easing of the rate of infection and has reduced pressure on the NHS and hospitals.

In a video message, Chief Constable Forsyth said: “I wanted to thank all of the public for the support you have given both to the concept of lockdown and also to our officers and staff. We’re absolutely committed to responding to your concerns, but also engaging with those not complying with rules and guidance.

“I’m very keen that our officers engage, explain the situation and encourage people to go home. Sadly there have been some occasions where people haven’t complied, and on those occasions we have enforced against them. But, overall, the support we have had for lockdown and towards our officers and staff has been brilliant, so a big thank you.

“I know how frustrating it can be, but it is really important to stick to the guidelines – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. We are seeing some early indications that all of the sacrifices you have made have started to have a positive impact, but we’re also acutely aware if we think we can start to relax too early or people think ‘the rules don’t apply to us’, then we could see that reversed and put us in a much worse position for a longer period. So please do persevere.”

Mr Forsyth also thanked people for continuing to observe the guidelines during religious celebrations – including Easter and those currently observing Ramadan.

He said: “We’re now into Ramadan and ordinarily I would be out and about in Luton spending time in mosques and in the community. I’m enormously grateful for all those who are observing the guidance and not going to places of worship. I know it’s a particularly special time when you would want to be at your mosque and with your families so thank you for your continued support.”

That message of thanks to those observing Ramadan was reinforced by Commissioner Holloway.

“I’d like to thank every member of our communities observing Ramadan for their continued observance of social distancing and the stay at home requirement even at a time when the breaking of the fast is usually such an occasion for friends and families to get together. I’m so sorry about this personally as it’s a time when I generally visit my friends to take part in their own Iftar celebrations and it’s one of the genuine highlights of my year and that of my husband and family. You are saving lives by doing this and we will, hopefully, get back to the normal pattern next year,” she said.

She continued: “I’d also like to say thank you to all those who are staying at home in every one of our other communities to protect others. It’s an act of great selflessness to do so, especially during the amazing weather we’ve had recently and, in particular, those who don’t have access to outdoor space have made a greater effort than anyone else to look after the wider public and our fantastic hospital staff in Luton and Bedford.”

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