On the beat in a lockdown: How policing carries on for one officer
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
The job of a bobby on the beat during the coronavirus lockdown is much different from what it’s like in ‘normal’ times, as one Norfolk constable can attest.
But PC Joey Mezzetti, 44, beat manager for Cromer, said many things were still “business as usual”.
PC Mezzetti’s role focuses on engaging with his community, but with social distancing enforced he has returned to the front line of response.
He said: “The change in role is absolutely fine. It is all about working together to help us achieve all that we want to achieve.
“I’m quite proud that the police have protected us so that we can still go out and protect the people who need it. This has made me really proud.”
PC Mezzetti starts each day by going out to shops and pharmacies to make sure people are following the regulations.
He has been a point of contact for councils, schools and residents.
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But PC Mezzetti he said he worried about people becoming cut off from the community.
He said: “It is very concerning that there are people out there which are vulnerable. We are trying to provide a service to people who can’t come out and see us, such as posters and helplines for them.”
He said that people were following social distancing guidelines, but police were still getting calls every day about people breaching regulations - for example, staying at holiday homes.
PC Mezzetti said that while these were investigated, the ‘breaches’ turned out to be legitimate, such as when NHS staff stayed at a different address because a member of their family was ‘shielding’.
He said when officers did confront someone about breaking the rules, their details were recorded, and it was not their first offence they are issued a £60 fine.
PC Mezzetti said the way call-outs and investigations had also changed, with police donning personal protective equipment (PPE) before entering properties and doing risk assessments over the phone.
However, the beat manager said that even with PPE, entering properties was concerning, and he felt he put himself at risk every time he entered a new home.
But PC Mezzetti said their had been some benefits to the lockdown - including a drop in the number of alcohol-related offences.
He said this had allowed officers to get on with other work, such as case files and admin.