How new police taskforce responds to people breaching social distancing laws in Sheffield

A new police Taskforce is working hard to keep South Yorkshire safe during the coronavirus crisis.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 3:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 3:11 pm

The ‘taskforce’ consists of a mix of officers from two existing specialist units, the Serious Violent Crime Taskforce and Tactical Support Group.

The purpose-built team has been brought together to help the force plan their ever-evolving response to coronavirus.

They enhance the work of neighbourhood officers by providing an additional presence on the streets, deploying to key locations depending on where the public need them.

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South Yorkshire Police's Covid-19 takeforce.

The officers have an ‘extensive set’ of capabilities and usually focus on proactive policing such as hi-visibility patrols and executing search warrants based on intelligence about drugs or weapons.

They also provide support to operations and investigations with many of the officers trained in taser, firearms and tactical building entry as well as advanced driving and public order.

They are also responsible for visiting licensed and other business premises where we receive reports that government regulations are not being adhered to.

Inspector Joe Hunt, who heads up the Taskforce said: “We are constantly reviewing all our policing activity and as you’d expect, Covid-19 has resulted in changes to the way we operate, where resources are needed and how we work with our communities.

“We still welcome community intelligence and working to tackle serious, violent and organised crime is still an absolute priority for my team. These officers were chosen for their roles because they enjoy ‘traditional policing’, being out on the streets protecting the public and disrupting criminals who would do them harm. They’re now adapting to meet the needs of the Covid-19 situation, but their presence hopefully provides that additional level of reassurance.

“As we aren’t aligned to any specific district or neighbourhood, we deploy to ‘hotspot’ areas, depending on where the public tell us we need to be.

“This weekend, in addition to executing warrants following a recent serious assault, we have deployed to parks across the county, responding to any reports of people breaching social distancing guidelines.

“Joined by our mounted unit and off-road bike team, this has given us an opportunity to remind people of the regulations, why they are in place and why it’s absolutely vital they continue to follow them.”