Skip to content Quick exit
REPORT CRIME ONLINEEMERGENCY CALL 999
REPORT CRIME ONLINEEMERGENCY CALL 999

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - FAQs

With the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), we are living in unprecedented times.

As of Wednesday 13 May, some of the COVID-19 restrictions enforced by the government have changed slightly. While lockdown measures have not been lifted, some of the original restrictions have changed in order for the Government to start their road map for reopening society.

We know and understand that there is significant public concern, and we want to answer as many of your questions as possible and help to put you at ease. With this in mind, we have pulled together some of the more commonly asked questions you may have.

Please make sure you continue to visit gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest official guidance and announcements.

The information here is subject to review and change as and when further information is released by the government.


Do we still need to stay at home?
What can I do now that I couldn’t do before?
Will police still be giving out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?
Are we allowed to exercise multiple times a day?
Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?
Are we allowed to meet up with family and friends?
Am I allowed to travel to and from work even if I’m not a key worker?
If I am separated, can I take my children to my ex-partner’s house?
Should we still report a group of people for breaking the government coronavirus regulations, such as a large group gathering in a certain area, or my neighbour inviting friends round?
Do we need to wear personal protective equipment?
Are day trips and holidays OK? Can people stay in second homes?
Has the advice changed for older people, those who are in the vulnerable categories or those who are shielding?
Can I attend a funeral during lockdown?
Am I allowed to relocate to stay with a vulnerable relative?
I am a university student living away from home. Can I travel to relocate to the family home?
What are police doing if businesses like pubs and restaurants refuse to close?
Is there a heightened risk of fraud and scams?
Can we volunteer to help the police as people have volunteered to help the NHS?
What crimes would you no longer respond to? Will you stop arresting people?
I called 101 and received a text message asking to participate in a survey – is this legitimate?
How can I provide feedback and suggestions on what my local policing unit should be focusing on?
How are you protecting officers?
Can I still report crime to the police?
How will you deal with under 18’s not adhering to the government direction?
I am interested in applying to become a police officer.  Can I still do that?
Can I still apply for a firearms or explosives licence?

Ramadan

Can I still go to a place of worship during lockdown?
What will you do if you find places of worship open/what powers do you have to close mosques?
Will mosques be open for evening prayer during Ramadan?
What about gatherings for Iftar (breaking fast)?
What about Eid-ul-Fitr prayer?


Do we still need to stay at home?

The government is advising that you should still stay at home as much as possible. The appropriate reasons for leaving your household are still as follows:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

These reasons are exceptions and a fuller list is set out in the government’s regulations. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent away from the home and ensuring that you are social distancing by keeping a minimum of two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.


What can I do now that I couldn’t do before?

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre.

Will police still be giving out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?

Our policing strategy in response to COVID-19 remains the same: in the first instance our officers will always apply their common sense and discretion and seek to engage, explain and encourage. Where individuals refuse to comply, or repeatedly breach the legislation, our officers are ready to enforce the regulations as the public would expect us to do. Not complying with the government legislation could result in being issued an FPN.


Are we allowed to exercise multiple times a day?

The new government guidance states that there is no longer a limit on how often you can exercise (previously it was once per day). You are also allowed to spend time outdoors without exercising – such as sunbathing, picnicking or sitting in the park – as long as you are adhering to the social distancing guidelines by staying a minimum of 2 metres apart from anyone who doesn’t live in your household.

You can now also play sports such as golf, tennis or fishing, but only with members of your own household or one other person from outside your household while staying two metres apart. Playgrounds, indoor leisure facilities and outdoor gyms still currently remain off-limits.


Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can safely practice social distancing - for example by cycling. Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed. You must not cross borders to Scotland or Wales where the rules are different.


Are we allowed to meet up with family and friends?

One of the biggest changes to the guidance is that you are now permitted to meet up with someone from outside of your household in an open, public setting (e.g. a park) as long as you are adhering to social distancing rules by keeping a minimum of 2 metres apart.


Am I allowed to travel to and from work even if I’m not a key worker?

Anyone who is unable to work from home is now being encouraged to return to work. You are encouraged to avoid public transport if possible. Ideally you should travel by car, bicycle or walk.

The businesses the Government required to remain closed are:

  • pubs, cinemas and theatres
  • all retail stores selling non-essential goods - this includes clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use, excluding permanent residents, key workers and those providing emergency accommodation, for example for the homeless.

If I am separated, can I take my children to my ex-partner’s house?

Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.


Should we still report a group of people for breaking the government coronavirus regulations, such as a large group gathering in a certain area, or my neighbour inviting friends round?

We are doing regular patrols of hot spot areas and we have the powers to disperse gatherings of more than two people from different households. Where one person meets one other individual from another household, they must obey the rules on social distancing.

If you are concerned that you have seen a gathering which you feel contravenes the government guidance, you can report it via our online webchat at herts.police.uk/contact or our online reporting form at herts.police.uk/report. This will help release pressure on our emergency lines and resources and allow for a quicker response to urgent 999 calls.

However, we want the public to exercise common sense – please be aware that we will not be able to dispatch officers for minor infringements of these rules. Clearly mass gatherings of people is not a minor infringement and we would want to know about that so we can deal with it.


Do we need to wear personal protective equipment?

The government has advised that people wear facial coverings when in enclosed spaces where social distancing cannot be observed, such as when on public transport or in shops. This refers to material face coverings as opposed to medical PPE, which is reserved for front line workers who need them to protect against risks in their workplace.


Are day trips and holidays OK? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips with members of your household to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside of your household.Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home, either for a holiday or for any other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work.


Has the advice changed for older people, those who are in the vulnerable categories or those who are shielding?

The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others.

We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease. But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection.

Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.


Can I attend a funeral during lockdown?

Funeral directors and faith leaders have been advised to restrict the number of mourners at funerals. The guidelines set out by the Government state:

• Only members of the deceased’s household or close family members should attend.

• Anyone with coronavirus symptoms cannot attend.

• A small number of friends can go if no family or household members can attend.

• Mourners cannot take part in any rituals bringing them into close contact with the body.

Am I allowed to relocate to stay with a vulnerable relative?

If your relative is vulnerable and there is no other way of them getting help then you may travel if you can maintain self-isolation on your journey.


I am a university student living away from home. Can I travel to relocate to the family home?

Yes. Please do not stay in university accommodation unless you have nowhere else to go. Refer directly to your university or college for advice.


What are police doing if businesses like pubs and restaurants refuse to close?

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate and/or necessary, are responsible for enforcing regulations requiring businesses to close.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards can issue prohibition notices where businesses do not follow these restrictions. In addition, businesses who fail to comply can also receive fines. Continued non-compliance could then lead to the loss of alcohol licenses.

Under the Business Closure regulations introduced on 21 March 2020, officers will have powers to prosecute for breach of regulations.

The local authority environmental health and trading standards officers are responsible for enforcing the regulations requiring businesses such as pubs, cinemas and theatres to close.

You can report businesses that are not complying with the government guidance to Trading Standards.


Is there a heightened risk of fraud and scams?

Unfortunately, some people will be using this scary time to take advantage of those who are most vulnerable for their own personal gain. We can all work together to try to prevent this from happening.

People should remain cautious when accepting help from strangers, either online or in person. We commend the community spirit and kindness that is being shown at this really difficult time, but please remember that unfortunately not everyone has the best intentions. Be wary about sharing personal information with people you don’t know, such as your address or your pin number.

There have been reports across the country of COVID-19 related scams, such as phishing emails or phone calls, which are being sent with the intention of attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments, or revealing sensitive personal or financial information. Remember, your bank or the police would never ask you to disclose information such as your pin number over the phone. Avoid clicking links in emails from unknown senders – if it seems suspicious, delete it straight away.


Can we volunteer to help the police as people have volunteered to help the NHS?

The best way that you can help us is by taking heed of the government guidelines and staying at home. This will significantly reduce the demand on both us and the NHS, and help us to keep the county as safe as possible.

If you wish to help people in your area, we would suggest making contact with your elderly and/or vulnerable neighbours – who you already know – and giving them your mobile number and letting them know you are there for help should they need it. This will reduce the chances of them accepting help from a stranger who may turn out to be an opportunist, confidence trickster or thief.

As well as this, you can register your interest to volunteer for #TeamHerts with North Herts Centre for Voluntary Service (NHCVS). They are working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to provide support to those affected.


What crimes would you no longer respond to? Will you stop arresting people?

There are no crime types that we would no longer respond to and the police will NOT stop arresting people. Each contact to the police for help will be risk assessed appropriately. We’re asking the public to be patient as we may take more time to follow up report relating to lower-level crimes.


I called 101 and received a text message asking to participate in a survey – is this legitimate?

If you do call our Force Communications Room (FCR) to report a crime or incident, please be aware that you may receive a text from us afterwards asking how we did. We know that due to the current increase in text and online scams this may cause some concern, so we just wanted to inform you that this is a legitimate follow-up message from us asking you to rate the service you received so we can continue to learn and improve.


How can I provide feedback and suggestions on what my local policing unit should be focusing on?

If you want to pass on your thoughts about policing in the county or your local area, you can utilise our community voice service ‘echo’. Tell us what you think we should be prioritising, or what you are concerned about in your local area. Simply visit bit.ly/herts-echo and have your say. This is completely anonymous, but if you’re talking about your local area please be as specific as you possibly can. Please be aware that this is NOT a platform for reporting crime. Echo feedback is used to set our local policing priorities, and strengthen our relationship with the public by listening to what they want.


How are you protecting officers?

Public Health England has published guidance to first responders and this has been circulated to all police forces for their officers and staff to follow.

In some scenarios, officers and staff will been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of work-related infection.

Additional PPE is NOT needed for routine policing activities and will not be worn unless dealing with a suspected COVID-19 case. Public Health additionally advises that it is NOT to be worn when dealing with contacts of suspected cases.

PPE which is to be worn when dealing with a person suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 is:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Fluid repellent surgical face mask is recommended (if available)
  • Disposable plastic apron (if available)
  • Disposable eye protection (such as face visor or goggles)

We are working closely with the Government and PHE to manage supplies of PPE like gloves and masks. Questions around stocks of these should be directed to PHE and the Government. Regions are monitoring their stock levels and will redistribute resources where they need to in support of neighbouring areas falling short.


Can I still report crime to the police?

Yes. The safety and welfare of local communities remains our top priority, as always.

Members of the public should continue to call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life. If your call is not urgent and can be reported using our online channels, we ask you to do so in order to release the pressure on our emergency lines and resources. We are experiencing high call demand to both our 999 and 101 numbers and our digital services offer you the option to self-report, which will then be prioritised and actioned.

Members of the public should not call police to report cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and should instead direct their concerns to NHS 111.


How will you deal with under 18’s not adhering to the government direction?

We will start off by speaking with them, and encouraging them to comply of their own free will. If necessary, we will liaise with an adult with responsibility for that child or young person. There is a power for us to provide a direction to that adult if it is necessary for us to do so.


I am interested in applying to become a police officer.  Can I still do that?

Welcoming future police officers is as important as ever and recruiting individuals that are passionate about making a difference to the communities we serve.

We are making some changes to some of the recruitment elements in our process to be able to do these virtually, some of which are already in place and some to get in place as quickly as we can. Local forces are now running virtual interviews and we are working with the College of Policing on a virtual national force assessment centre which we expect to be ready in the coming weeks. This means a change for the timeframe of the process and we will keep you up-to-date with the progress of your application.

Our recruitment team are committed to supporting you and appreciate current circumstances may mean more questions, so please drop us a note with any questions you have at: BCHCareers@Herts.pnn.police.uk.

We look forward to receiving your application and progressing the ones we have already received!


Can I still apply for a firearms or explosives licence?

Due to the current unchartered and unprecedented times facing us all, firearms licensing services are of course being affected.

Contingency working has never been required on this scale before, and as part of a policing family our over-riding priority must remain to protect life and prevent crime. In having to priorities out work according to these principles, We have taken the decision that all non risk and non urgent work will be suspended for the time being. This will allow us to concentrate on ensuring that existing certificate holders who are nearing renewal are renewed prior to expiry. We are confident that as law abiding and responsible citizens our shooting community will understand the situation we are in and thank  you in advance for your patience. 

Please continue to notify us of weapon transactions and changes of addresses, we will process them as staffing and priorities allow – please do not email us to chase progress at this time. 

  • Grant applications – due to social distancing restrictions we are unable able to process any grant applications. We ask that you consider waiting until restrictions are lifted prior to submitting an application. Any that we do receive will not be actioned.
  • Variations – if you require a variation please submit it. Most variations do not require a visit so we may be able to process it and will contact you if we cannot.
  • Renewal – our priority is to ensure current holders do not expire. In order to assist us in these challenging times, please continue to renew but do not e-mail or telephone the office to enquire on progress of your renewal. We are dealing with renewals according to expiry date (NOT date received) and, of course, are aware of the status of all holders.

Ramadan

Can I still go to a place of worship during lockdown? 

On Monday, 23 March, the government made the difficult decision to close all places of worship to help protect the NHS and save lives. This is an unprecedented public health emergency and an unprecedented national effort is needed to fight this virus. 

National leaders for all faiths in the UK are supporting the government’s decision and have provided guidance to worshipers of practical ways they can support their communities and demonstrate their faith whilst their places of worship remain closed. 

We are actively engaging with local faith leaders across our communities, we understand the distress at not being able to come to their place of worship, particularly during holy times. But we know our communities of all faiths recognise that the best way of saving lives and to protect the NHS is to stay at home.


What will you do if you find places of worship open/what powers do you have to close mosques? 

If officers see place of worship open, they will remind both leader and worshippers of the government advice. We will engage, explain and encourage those worshippers to return home. We don’t expect to need to use enforcement action.


Will mosques be open for evening prayer during Ramadan? 

All places of worship remain closed whilst the lockdown is in place. The government made this difficult decision to help protect the NHS and save lives. This is an unprecedented public health emergency and an unprecedented national effort is needed to fight this virus. Therefore, all places of worship for all faiths remain closed at all times. 


What about gatherings for Iftar (breaking fast)? 

In addition to the closure of mosques and other places of worship, daily celebrations at the breaking of a fast must also be different this year.  Whilst ordinarily this would be a time for visiting friends and families to share a meal, regrettably this will also not be possible.  The Government ban on gatherings equally applies to gatherings for religious reasons. It’s vital to save lives and to protect the NHS. Therefore, all communities are being asked to refrain from attending community and family gatherings, which includes Iftar as well as congregational prayers.  

We know that the vast majority of worshippers will follow these rules and not gather. 


What about Eid-ul-Fitr prayer? 

Eid marks the end of Ramadan, which is estimated to fall on Saturday, 23 May, depending on the sighting of the new moon.  If the lockdown restrictions remain in place, it is anticipated that scholars, mosque committees and boards will not hold Eid prayers and instead ask Muslims to observe these at home.  You may therefore wish to consider how as a family and community you will celebrate this occasion if the regulations remain in place, and you are unable to meet with people outside your household.

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience.

OK