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Crime down 50% but domestic violence reports slightly up during first week of lockdown in Hertfordshire

No fines for breaching new lockdown laws have been issued by Hertfordshire Constabulary, prompting praise from the county's police and crime commissioner.

In the past week, since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of lockdown measures, reported crime in the county has dropped by 50% – but there has been a "small increase" in reports of domestic violence.

PCC David Lloyd said: "It has only been a week since the new powers were enacted, but we have seen an excellent reaction from both Hertfordshire Constabulary and the public.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd (32747341)
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd (32747341)

"We have not had the issues of overzealous policing other areas have had or any significant breaches of the rules. That is a tribute to the way it has been handled by our officers and the sensible behaviour of residents."

In some parts of the country, according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), police forces have reprimanded corner shops for selling Easter eggs, while officers have used drones to spy on dog walkers in Derbyshire and summonsed six people for offences including travelling to purchase "non-essential" items in Cheshire.

Mr Lloyd said: "There is more positive news in the fact that reported crime in the county has dropped by 50% compared to a normal week and the volume of calls to 999 is lower than usual."

But owing to a "small increase" in domestic violence reports, residents are being reminded that confidential support and advice are available through Hertfordshire Beacon, the county's victim care centre. Alternatively, you can call 03000 115555. Since the lockdown began, nine people across the country have been killed.

Residents are also being encouraged to remain extra vigilant to coronavirus or Covid-19 scams and frauds, which have risen substantially in the last few weeks. These are mainly being conducted by phone, email or the internet. More information and advice can be found at the Friends Against Scams website.

"Police officer numbers are holding up well," said Mr Lloyd. "I am in daily contact with the chief constable and I can reassure the public that the constabulary is continuing to function very well and is keeping everyone safe."

He added: "We have a superb special constabulary in Hertfordshire and I would like to thank those members who volunteered to increase their hours and even work full-time during the crisis. We also owe thanks to the employers who have released them from normal work to provide this vital service."

This week the PCC's office has been looking to work with Team Herts Volunteering and the county council. Plans are under way for fully vetted volunteers who normally carry out PCC duties to be able to help those at risk of contracting Covid-19.

For more information, visit the Hertfordshire PCC's dedicated coronavirus website.

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