The Commissioner and Chief Officers to be heard.
Members heard an update from the Commissioner on Operation TAMAR and the following points were made:
· The City of London Police was part of the Pan-London Strategic Coordinating Group which worked to deliver a consistent approach to policing across London. The City of London continued to be very quiet as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, although there had been some issues around social distancing in public open spaces at the start of the lockdown period which had been now been resolved. The majority of business remained closed but building sites were re-opening where social distancing measures could be put in place. The Police had issued penalty notices to three people breaching lockdown by travelling to the City on non-essential journeys and had made a number of arrests relating to non-residential burglaries. There had been no increase in reports of domestic abuse during the lockdown period. The City of London Police was engaging with the debate on exiting lockdown and continued to work closely with businesses in the City. It was likely that there would be a staged return of the City’s workforce over time, with levels of remote working remaining high in the short to medium term and with pubs and restaurants remaining closed for the foreseeable future.
· The number of City of London Police staff self-isolating was extremely low with an overall workforce sickness rate of 2.5%. One officer remained in a serious condition in hospital, and seven members of staff were self-isolating at present, of whom four were non-symptomatic. Police officers could access COVID-19 testing via NHS Test Centres and there were no concerns over the current stock or future supply of PPE. Police officers and staff were still able to take leave which was supplemented by a workstream under the GOLD structure around the welfare of staff and occupational health and there was a wider national conversation around the need to ease constraints on the requirements to take leave during a given period for emergency workers. Remote working arrangements for Police staff had improved over time and work was ongoing to maintain robust IT systems for all staff.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Commissioner confirmed that the number of cars in the City had significantly dropped at the start of the lockdown period but that the levels of traffic had increased over time, fuelled by the suspension of the congestion charge and ultra-low emissions zone. As traffic was still significantly below usual traffic levels, vehicle speeds had increased and Officers had been deployed to areas of concern to monitor speed levels. Whilst the Magistrates’ Courts remained closed, Police Officers were engaging and educating motorists rather than issuing enforcement notices; however, a wider national conversation was in progress around how court cases could be managed remotely in future which could include a return to enforcement. A Member highlighted the importance of planning for the safe return of people who worked or studied in the City and observed that this could generate an increase in travel by bicycle, foot or car, particularly as public transport was likely to operate with limited capacity in the short to medium term. Another Member suggested that working patterns may change in the longer term with increased working from home.
The Chairman led the Board in expressing his support for Police staff and families who had been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
RESOLVED, that the update be noted.