Local Policing-Covid 19 Briefing Note – 01/04/2020

Dear residents and community members, we receive updates on COVID 19 from BCU Commander Colin Wingrove, which we publish below.

Neighbourhood policing and proactive work in your community is continuing as normal with the exception of postponing non-essential public meetings. Your locals teams are out on patrol dealing with anti-social behavior and criminality in their wards. 

If you have any concerns, please contact your local team. If a crime needs reporting or you need police to deal with an issue then and there, please call 101 or report online at www.met.police.uk. In an emergency always call 999.

Your continued support is greatly appreciated in this challenging time.

Metropolitan police logo

Dear all,

There continues to be minimal change to our policing plans across the Met, and in Lambeth and Southwark, however please see an updated letter below.


We continue to review our demand daily and move people where needed to put our resources in the right place to maintain the Met’s resilience.  

Following the Commissioner’s request to retired officers, we have already seen over 250 just in the last couple of days say that they would like to re-join and more than 30 have asked to be special constables. Great news to know we have more support on the way.

We continue to see most of the public complying with the restrictions.  Where we are seeing problems, we are working with communities to raise awareness and we are getting good results.

Our role is to provide reassurance and encouragement, and reminding people that we all have to play a part in keeping everyone safe. Officers should be following the 4 E approach being adopted nationally – Engage, Explain, Encourage and, only if necessary, Enforce. The 4 E approach helps us to use our judgement and persuasion to carefully manage anyone not adhering to the restrictions and get a peaceful resolution.

We are continuing to police London with a focus on high harm, violent or other offenders who cause harm in our communities. Yesterday we announced that across London, we made more than 800 arrests during Operation Sceptre – a week of action that focussed on tackling knife crime and wider violence. Commander Jane Connors, said: Despite the current public health crisis, policing must continue.”

In Southwark and Lambeth as part of Operation Sceptre local officers from across Central South were joined by officers from Road and Transport Policing Command, Metropolitan Police Special Constables, Violent Suppression Team and Violent Crime Task Force.  During the week of action 83 arrests were made, 12 Search Warrants,  in excess of 350 stop searches completed and over 200 weapon sweeps conducted. 

Arrests were made for multiple offences including 11 arrests for robbery, 30 for drug related offences, 9 for possessing knives or weapons, 10 for serious violence and 18 for domestic abuse cases.  16 knives and weapons were recovered and police seized drugs in 38 searches, as we remain committed to reducing violent crime and keeping our communities safe on the streets and in the home.

Full information on Operation Sceptre is available here

You, and the public will continue to see visible patrols over the coming weeks, as officers continue to engage with the public.

Harmful practices

We appreciate all the support our Faith Communities are providing for the vulnerable during this current crisis. For many people, their faith and religion will be a source of comfort and will help them through these harrowing times. Now more than ever, the role volunteers will play in supporting those in need is absolutely essential and we also recognise the pivotal role faith leaders and faith groups are playing in galvanising this support.

We know that abuse linked to faith and belief affects people from all walks of life, and impacts on communities across London and the UK.  Beliefs in the spiritual realm and in good and evil forces are extremely common globally and we recognise that there is a fundamental right to hold religious and spiritual beliefs. We also recognise that most holding these beliefs would not hurt or abuse children in their care.  However, abuse that takes place against those who are branded or labelled as a ‘witch’, or as having being ‘possessed by an evil spirit’ can result in great harm. When the world has been turned upside down, many will look for spiritual reasons for what is happening and may seek spiritual solutions to the problems.  This will sometimes involve blaming another (often children but potentially partners). 

As such the current crisis may result in a:

  • Belief that faith should protect individuals from catching the COVID-19 virus and the consequent negative beliefs and practices that may follow should the virus be contracted.
  • A few faith leaders or members of religious communities making claims that they can cure COVID- 19.
  • Some faith and Church Leaders ignoring guidance to gather their congregations, therefore placing them and others at risk.
  • Rise in accusations against vulnerable individuals who will be labelled as witches and having caused this misfortune
  • Increase in abuse linked to faith or belief (including deliverance / exorcisms of children)

The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to working with the National Working Group on Child Abuse Linked to Faith and Belief and partners such as the National FGM Centre, NSPCC and Thirtyone: eight to tackle child abuse linked to faith and belief and a range of other Harmful Practices.

We would urge those from a faith background to be vigilant of those who may seek to harm others and report these concerns.  If you are aware of harmful practises (which also include FGM, Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse) we would ask that you come forward and speak to the police about incidents so that we can safeguard our vulnerable. 

For more information on child abuse linked to faith and belief visit:  www.nationalfgmcentre.org.uk/calfb/

Alternatively if you have concerns about child abuse linked to faith and belief call the dedicated NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550

We understand that not everyone wishes to speak to Police direct and information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

We thank you for your continued support and wish you well.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.


Colin Wingrove, Chief Superintendent, BCU Commander – Central South

AS – Central South / COVID19 – 2 – 1/4/2020

WISE16 encourages readers to visit the police website which office a range of advice on how to protect yourself from fraud, which can be found here: –