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Prisoners could be freed to reduce pressure on jails during coronavirus outbreak

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In an attempt to curb the spread prisoners could be freed to reduce pressure on jails during coronavirus outbreak.

The Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said that releasing some inmates could help to ‘alleviate’ pressures on the prison system.

In speaking to the Commons justice committee he was ‘keen’ to make use of of release on temporary license.

This would be where prisoners are allowed out for short periods, if an assessment on them allowed for the risk to be low enough.

Read more: Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus

In addition, of the 9,000 who were on remand and awaiting trial, he indicated that some could be moved to bail hostels and that he was examining ‘very carefully’ whether around 50 pregnant prisoners could be released as well.

As part of prison measures to curb the spread of the virus all prisons have cancelled visits from outsiders and inmates activities have been cancelled.

It has also been reported that hundred of phones are to be given to prosons to allow their inmates to keep in touch with family during the ban on visitors.

Chief executive of the Prison and Probation Service, Jo Farrar, confirmed 13 inmates had tested positive for coronavirus across 9 prisons.

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‘With community spirit & patience we will get through this’ – Crawley Police Chief thanks residents for staying at home

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Chief Inspector Shane Baker who is the District Commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex has thanked the towns residents and his own officers for their commitment to following the governments emergency measures.

Since the measures were introduced the majority of residents have been following the measures and when not required to go to work or to do essential travel have been staying at home.

But the Chief Inspector was also quick to point out that those who do flaunt the measures will find his officers will enforce the legislation where necessary.

CI Baker confirmed his officers who have been actioning ‘Operation Apollo’ have only had to deal with a handful of situations where some people were not abiding by the new rules but that these were very few.

So far officers had only had to deal with some shoppers breaking rules in a supermarket, gatherings being arranged on social media in several wards and some house parties.

He also confirmed that whilst 5% of his officers were off self-isolating, there was no disruption to their service as demand for general policing, in particular residential burglaries, was down due to people being indoors.

CI Baker added that those officers working from home were still able to continue investigative duties.

Nationally the police have had to contend with a lot of backlash as some forces were deemed to be acting far too heavy handed. CI Baker said that so far there had been no need for officers to fine anyone and that he was keen his officers used tactics of visibility and persuasion first and foremost.

His officers were also taking measures to protect the public as much as possible by keeping social distancing between themselves where possible and where it wasn’t such as within patrol cars, they were working with the same colleagues to minimise any potential spread.

CI Baker said:

“I thank the vast majority of Crawley residents and my officers for their continued commitment to the governments emergency measures.

We are still seeing people out without cause; these are not guidelines, this is for your own safety. My officers will enforce the emergency legislation where proportionate and necessary, but they should not have to.”

“We are all impacted by this pandemic, but with a sense of public duty, a community spirit and continued patience we will soon get through this whilst saving the lives of many.”

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