The Commissioner and Chief Officers to be heard.
The Commissioner was heard in public session and the following points were made.
Reading Terrorist Incident
· The Commissioner noted the minute of silence held earlier at 10.00am for victims of the terrorist incident in Reading on 21 June 2020, adding that it was a stark reminder of the threat of terrorism in the UK. The incident was being investigated by Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command, and the Force had reviewed its current security plans in light of the incident.
· The Commissioner reported that sickness levels across the Force remained low. Across the City, there was a slow re-opening of businesses taking place, with around 260 premises including café, retail and pubs offering offsales reopened. New Change remained broadly closed for business. Intelligence suggested that many businesses were working towards reopening in September 2020.
· There has been further protests in support of Black Lives Matter on the weekend of 20/21 June, with no significant public order issues reported. Members were asked to note that since the advent of protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, it was estimated that 220,000 persons had engaged in protest in the UK with minimal arrests made. The Force did face a challenge in policing protests given that protesting in groups contravened COVID-19 guidance on distancing.
National Lead Force
· The Commissioner reported that he had participated in a call with the Home Secretary on 15 June 2020 that had included the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and representatives from National Police Chiefs Council. Topics under discussion included the impact of COVID-19 on the City and the national issue of fraud.
· In terms of fraud, calls to Action Know Fraud had returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, and COVID-19 remained a significant methodology for fraudsters. Investment fraud and online sales fraud had also increased, although software fraud had decreased due to the closure of call centres that were typically based in Asia.
· The Force continued to monitor its COVID-19-related expenditure, which currently stood at around £300,000.
· In response to a question, the Commissioner replied that an estimated 5,500 persons were travelling into the City each day with a slight increase due to retail. It was clear that many City businesses were evaluating their ways of working given that COVID-19 had revealed the ease with which many employees could work from home.