Lockdown dispersal notice issued to same person on five occasions by police

One individual has been issued with a lockdown dispersal notice on five separate occasions by a police force.

West Midlands Police said it had also issued four directions to leave (DTL) notices to eight other people, since it started recording the data on its own in-house app from April 2.

The force, which is the largest outside the Met and polices a population of three million people, has issued 1,755 of the notices which are seen as a final step before fines for people refusing to comply with Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Birmingham mosques attacked
Birmingham mosques attacked

In the West Midlands, 475 people have been fined for breaking rules introduced by the Government during the outbreak.

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe also said the force had received 75 complaints relating to its Covid-19 performance, with the largest amount, 22, about police “not responding to reports of breaches”.

There were also complaints about the way people had been treated during enforcement (17), officers not adhering to safeguarding measures, like social distancing (14), five for social media posts and 17 for other issues, mainly about the progress of investigations.

Ms Rolfe was updating the regional strategic policing and crime board on its coronavirus policing measures, on Tuesday.

She added the force had currently run up a bill of £3.4 million in Covid-19 costs, including purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE) and buying laptops to allow staff to work from home.

But it is estimated that figure could more than double to £7.1 million by June, added Ms Rolfe.

Among the costs were the purchase of 600 laptops in March, with another 2,000 in April.

The force was also looking to hire 25 temporary additional staff to work in the force contact department, handling queries from the public.

Ms Rolfe also said “less than 40” of its staff and members of employees’ households had tested positive for Covid-19, as of May 19.

In all, 1,098 personal and members of households had been tested, with 373 results so far returned.

She added staff sick rates were also lower than normal.

Ms Rolfe put this down to a mixture of factors including officers’ “significant commitment” at a time of national emergency, and social-distancing and hand-washing measures preventing employees catching the usual coughs and colds.

The West Midlands’ Labour police and crime commissioner David Jamieson praised the “pragmatic approach” of the force during the outbreak, adding that “overall the compliance with the lockdown in the West Midlands has been very good”.

Turning to the additional costs of the policing the measures, he said: “By June, Covid-19 will have cost West Midlands Police at least £7 million.

“We have sent into government a detailed breakdown of our direct costs.

“After a decade of austerity it is simply not possible for us to avoid them without consequences for the frontline.

“Our budgets are already stretched and I am concerned about the impact this will have if the Home Office do not step in.

“The Government are yet to be clear on whether they will cover all of our costs.”