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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - FAQs

As of Thursday 5 November, the Government put further restrictions in place in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, meaning the country is back in lockdown.

Please ensure that you are adhering to the Government enforced regulations at all times. Police officers will continue to ensure that the new restrictions are followed, engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing. Anyone who knowingly breaks the rules, therefore endangering lives, should expect to receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Please note that the information on this page is subject to review and change as and when further information is released by the government.

To get the latest information, please make sure that you continue to visit the Government website (opens in a new window) for the latest official guidance and announcements.

Quick links

Do I need to stay at home?
When am I required to wear face coverings?
Report a business in breach of COVID-19 regulations
Report a person or group of people breaching COVID-19 regulations
Will police still be giving out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?
What crimes have you stopped responding 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 apply for a firearms or explosives licence?


Do I need to stay at home?

The Government is once again advising that we only leave home where absolutely necessary, in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus. This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

  • for childcare or education, where this is not provided online.
  • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).
  • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
  • for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse.
  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible.
  • to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer. 

When am I required to wear face coverings?

As a rule of thumb, you should wear a face covering whenever you are in a situation that requires you to be in close contact (or less than 2m away) from other people. Places you must wear a face covering to, unless you are exempt, are (this list is not exhaustive):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses).
  • taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals).
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire).
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets).
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses.
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels).
  • places of worship.

You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people outside of your household.

Wearing a face covering will provide you with additional protection when you are not able to adhere to the two-metre social distancing guidelines. The responsibility for wearing a face mask lies with individuals – however, should you not wear a face covering, shops and supermarkets can refuse you entry. Under new legislation, people who do not wear a face covering may face a fine of up to £100. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities are exempt. For more information, visit the Government website (opens in a new window).

People wearing face coverings are still strongly advised to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting one on or taking it off, avoid taking it off and putting it back on again a lot in quick succession, store it in a plastic bag in between washes or wearing, and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing one.

Please remember that wearing a face covering does not mean you can be lax with social distancing or hygiene measures. While they offer you additional protection, they do not mean you are fully protected. Please continue to keep adhering to the social distancing policies, and following the appropriate hygiene measures to help stop the spread of the virus.


Report a business in breach of COVID-19 regulations

You can ask your local council to investigate a business or organisation for not following the Government's COVID-19 regulations (opens in a new window) by reporting it to them online.

Please ensure you understand the Government's guidance (opens in a new window) before you report a possible breach via your local borough or district council. If you’re not sure which district you’re in, you can use the county council's postcode finder (opens in a new window).


Report a person or group of people breaching COVID-19 regulations

If you need to report someone who is breaching the COVD-19 regulations, you can do so via our usual reporting methods – you can call 101, report online, or use online webchat. Please bear in mind that we will not be able to dispatch officers to all instances of the rules being breached.


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 regulations, knowingly breaking the rules and therefore endangering lives, our officers are ready to enforce the regulations as the public would expect us to do. Purposely not complying with the government legislation – such as refusing to wear a face covering in a shop or supermarket, or while using public transport – will result in you receiving an FPN.


What crimes have you stopped responding to? Will you stop arresting people?

There are no crime types that we do not respond to and police officers will make arrests as necessary. Each contact to the police for help is 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 the echo website (opens in a new window) 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?

Police forces are following guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Officers and staff will adhere to the regulations for wearing face coverings when they are out on patrol in a public-facing manner.

PPE is NOT needed for routine policing activities and will not be worn unless dealing with a suspected COVID-19 case. 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 apply for a firearms or explosives licence?

Firearms licensing services are currently reduced in scale, with all non-risk and non-urgent work suspended for the time being. This allows 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 applying. 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 email 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.

Find out more about firearms and explosives licensing.

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