NORTH Wales' police chief has appealed to us all to work with the force during the coronavirus crisis.

Today, North Wales Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said said his officers were a committed as ever to keeping the public safe and upholding the law despite new pressures during these challenging times.

He was speaking after the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday of tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

He said: “As the UK responds to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, North Wales Police remain steadfast in their commitment to maintaining public safety, upholding the law and safeguarding the well-being of our region.

"Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night of new measures to save lives and protect our loved ones many of you have questions and are coming to us for the answers. I recognise that this is a worrying time for everybody. The outbreak of COVID-19 is presenting us with unique challenges but one that we are ready to face.

"Rest assured that we have well-rehearsed plans in place to respond to events which could impact on the services we provide and we’re currently taking all the necessary steps to maintain our critical functions.

"This is a very fast-moving situation. We don’t yet have all the details, however we are working with the Government on the detail as they prepare legislation and detailed guidance. For the time being I would strongly advise you to look at the UK and Welsh Government websites."

The Chief Constable said that everyone has a part to play by adhering to the advice to stay at home.

He added: "We are working closely with our key partners to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and despite the current climate we are still out there working to keep our communities safe.

"However we need our local communities to work with us like never before – by staying at home.

"This is an unprecedented situation, and policing will continue to adapt to the ever-changing climate. If we come across people choosing to break these rules which are there to keep all of us safe, we will take action."

Denbighshire Free Press:

Officers reassuring the public in Wrexham and urging them to stay at home

The police chief has already spoken out after North Wales saw a deluge of visitors to its visitor hotspots, despite the advice to stay at home and only to travel if it is essential.

He said: "Disappointingly we saw a large influx of visitors to North Wales at the weekend, however with the caravan and camping sites now closed we hope people will continue to adhere to the messages and stay away. We urge anyone who may be considering visiting North Wales to think again.

"This is to stop the spread of the virus, limit the impact on our already stretched health and care services – and to ultimately save lives.

"Our communities can be absolutely assured that our Police Officers, PCSO’s and Special Constables are still out on patrol and ready to respond as normal.

"You will see an enhanced policing presence in communities and on our roads over the coming days.

"We continue to work closely with our partners, in particular our colleagues in the health service and we have an experienced Policing Command Team in place who are keeping our operational response and capability under regular review to ensure we undertake our core policing duties."

Earlier today, North Wales Police said they had received an influx of virus-related questions that should not be put to them, some of them via 999 calls.

CC Foulkes added: “As always, we continue to encourage people to use our services wisely, for instance using live web chat or email for non-urgent matters rather than via 101. This ensures call handlers are free to deal with more pressing demands for our service. We have already received several calls with questions that we, as a police service, simply cannot answer."

He added that their had been a small number of hate crimes of a racially aggravated nature involving abuse connected to coronavirus.

He said: "We are also aware that there may be incidents that are not being reported to us. We take all reports of hate crime seriously and, in order to respond to this, we need to know about it. If you feel you have been targeted please contact us."

Finally, the chief constable thanked his staff, other frontline workers, and those in the community working to help others.

“The national Government, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales are leading the response to this quite exceptional public health emergency and I’d encourage everyone to visit their website for all the latest advice and guidance," he said.

“It’s at times like this we see the very best of community spirit and partnership working and I’d like to thank all those, including our officers and staff going above and beyond the call of duty, who are working as one to respond to this situation.

“I’d also like to express my gratitude and thanks to all of our NHS colleagues across the country, who are working extremely hard to protect our communities.

“Finally, keep yourselves and you families safe.”