The strain of lockdown on people’s mental health is becoming evident as the police report they have received calls from people threatening to harm themselves.
Superintendent Stephen Maddocks said that last week the constabulary received 16 calls related to mental health issues including one person who attempted suicide and 11 people making threats to do so.
There have been 80 people warned and 17 arrested for breaching Covid regulations during this lockdown. In addition to prosecution through the Courts, three fixed penalty notices have also been issued.
In a statement, the island’s Constabulary said there have been 222 Covid related calls to the Emergency Services Joint Control Room and a senior officer has said the Police have ‘the general support of the community’.
He said ‘As always the large majority of the public are adhering strictly to the rules. However, there are still people who think the rules don’t apply to them and we receive a large number of calls on a daily basis reporting potential breaches. The common themes are reports of people leaving their homes after being instructed to self-isolate, businesses continuing to operate without following regulations or workers not wearing masks where social distancing cannot be maintained and people gathering in open spaces.
‘Lockdown is obviously having an impact on people and we would encourage anyone who is needing help to contact the relevant support agencies or speak to a family member or friend.
‘There seems to be a feeling from the public that the Police are not dealing with breaches but I can assure you we investigate all reports made to us and take any suspected breach seriously. All the work is in addition to the general day to day Police work we deal with. We have not changed our policing approach from the past 2 lockdowns and we work on a system called the 4 E’s (Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce). Enforcement is always usually a last option. However, a clear and flagrant breach, such as a person who was Covid positive and went out in public would immediately be arrested and dealt with. It is only minor breaches, which in essence are assessed as low risk matters, where a person would receive an official warning. We record these matters and should a person make another breach, then a stricter approach will be taken. At the start of lockdown 3 we also wrote to 40 people who had been warned during lockdown number 2 at the start of January to remind them of their need to follow the regulations.
‘We have the general support of the community and we want to ensure we can all come out of this lockdown as soon as possible. We want to support our health services and make sure we do our part to keep everyone safe.’