Coronavirus (Covid-19): Your essential guide to services, advice and support as Devon and Cornwall responds
The situation continues to change rapidly so for up to date advice on the Covid-19 virus, please visit the Gov.uk website
Content last updated: 6 July
Is the OPCC office open during COVID -19?
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner's is open for business during normal office hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. The team are working remotely during this time to support our communities for the foreseeable future.
We are still contactable by phone or email:
Telephone: 01392 225555
You can also keep up to date with the office by visiting our social media channels:
Please do not visit the office in person as you will not be allowed on site and the team are not based there to help you.
Will my complaint/correspondence be responded/progressed during COVID-19?
Our customer services team are still working and progressing with new and current complaints. The usual service standard is within 20 working days. We will endeavour to keep you up to date with the process of your complaint but please be patient with us as this may take a little longer than usual in the current climate due to being able to access information but we will keep you informed of this.
Is the PCC carrying out any public surgeries or events at the moment?
Following current government guideline and for the wellbeing of staff and the public, the PCC and her office will not be holding or attending any public surgeries, events or talks for the foreseeable future.
However the PCC will be engaging directly with the public through her blog, podcast, social media and radio broadcasts wherever possible. You can directly contact the Commissioner and her team through the OPCC social media accounts, phone or email.
Will I still receive funding for the service that I have been supplying?
We are currently producing our funding letters for the forthcoming financial year at this time. We recognise that services are having to adapt their service delivery in response to the pandemic and we are supporting our commissioned services to make these adjustments.
To find out what we have been doing during the pandemic to support the services that we commission to help those who have experienced crime in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, please read our report about our commissioning arrangements.
Will 999 calls be answered?
Answering calls to the 999 number is a priority and we are making sure that we have additional resilience through training student officers to support our call handlers. Please continue to dial 999 in all emergency situations.
What is the best way to contact the police at this busy time for non-emergencies?
If possible we would ask that you use the following options before dialling 101 at this busy time.
- Click before you call – go online at devon-cornwall.police.uk/
- Check if you can find the answer yourself on AskNed
- Use the online crime reporting form
- Webchat live with the 101 service (link to this facility at bottom right of Devon and Cornwall Police homepage)
- Email the 101 service at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Calling 101 phone line
If you do need to call 101 about a non emergency, please be aware that it may take longer than normal to answer your call. Perhaps consider calling at a quieter time of the day, like late evening if it is not time critical.
I have intelligence about a crime – who should I contact?
Please continue to contact the police on the details listed above. If it is an emergency call 999 or for non emergencies use the online contact options where possible.
You can also report crime and intelligence anonymously via Crimestoppers either by calling 0800 555111 or by using their online reporting system at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Where can victims of crime access help and support?
Individuals affected by crime can contact Victim Support, Devon and Cornwall
Phone: 0300 303 0554 (12pm until 6pm on Monday to Friday)
Phone: 0808 1689 111 (national support line available 24/7)
Live 24/7 web chat and other online support materials: victimsupport.org.uk
In addition, other channels for help and support are still available for victims, although many of them have had to make some changes to the services they are offering. Please contact the Victim Care Unit who can help you. The unit provide support and referral on to organisations with the victim’s consent. It acts as a source of immediate support and information for all victims of crime and the team work with a range of third sector specialists through our victim care network. Visit the Victim Care Unit website or call 01392 475900 (8am until 8pm on Monday to Friday, and 9am until 5pm at the weekend)
You can also find more information about victim support services on the Ministry of Justice website: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-victim-and-witness-services
I am a victim of domestic abuse and need to leave my home – are refuges still open?
Please visit your local authority website for up to date information on what you need to do. Each local authority still has a responsibility for housing duties at this time.
I have been a victim of a sexual assault – are Sexual Assault Referral Centres still open?
Sexual Assault Services are still open for both adults and children. Before attending a service, you will be asked a few questions to find out if you might have symptoms of Covid-19. This is not a formal test, but it is a way of protecting you, staff and other service users from the risk of transmission.
If you do not have any symptoms, you will be welcome to attend for a medical examination and treatment as usual. If you do have symptoms, the service will speak with you about alternative ways for you to be cared for.
At all times, there are doctors, nurses and crisis workers available to talk with you and make sure you get the best possible advice and care.
Devon and Cornwall SARCs can be contacted, 24 hours a day, on 0300 3034626.
Their website is sarchelp.co.uk
Is the young victims of crime service still running?
Services are still running, but all staff are working remotely. There is an excellent online community group provided by Kooth which is helping young people with Covid-19 and many other things. Visit https://www.kooth.com/ for free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.
Devon and Cornwall Police have published a series of Covid-19 frequently asked questions covering topics such as travel, daily life, crime, police response to Covid-19, police officers and staff, day to day police work and new emergency legislation. You can find these FAQs on the Devon and Cornwall Police website
How can I protect myself and others against scams linked to COVID-19?
The National Trading Standards Service has provided some useful information on COVID-19 scams through its national scambuster and friends against scams scheme which can be viewed at friendsagainstscams.org.uk/
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, then speak to your bank immediately and report any fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud also have a live webchat facility on their website
Further information on dealing with scams and fraud is available from local trading standards services and Citizens Advice.
Some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams:
1 - Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): email@example.com
2 - Shopping online
If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.
3 - Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.
Track and trace
Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.
All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.
Contact tracers will NEVER:
- Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting in 09 or 087)
- Ask you to make any form of payment
- Ask for any details about your bank account
- Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- Ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- Ask you to purchase a product
- Ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
- Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS
Are the courts in England and Wales still functioning during the COVID-19 restrictions?
You can find information about the changes that have been implemented to arrangements for court proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic on the government website at: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-courts-and-tribunals-planning-and-preparation
Witnesses services support
You can find information about the Witness Service and the help Citizens Advice can provide on the Ministry of Justice website: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-victim-and-witness-services
Prison visiting and contact arrangements
Information on prison arrangements and COVID-19 including visiting and contact arrangements can be accessed via gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-and-prisons
Information for voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system
Please visit the Clinks website where they have published helpful advice and support for those working in voluntary sector of the criminal justice system: clinks.org/our-work/coronavirus-covid-19
How can I assist the police at this time?
The main advice is to follow the government guidelines and stay at home. This will reduce pressure on policing services who will need to enforce the restrictions on business opening and movement of people if needed.
The police service – like other emergency services will be working hard to keep you safe at this challenging time. If you need the assistance of the police then still make contact – please see below the advice on how to contact the police.
How can I support and help vulnerable people in my community?
Arrangements to volunteer and help vulnerable people in your community are developing daily. Please consult these sites for general information about local authority services and community support in your local area:
- Cornwall Council
- Devon County Council
- East Devon District Council
- Exeter City Council
- Mid Devon District Council
- North Devon District Council
- Plymouth City Council
- Teignbridge District Council
- Torbay Council
There are other national organisations working across the area who may need your help, such as the British Red Cross and Age UK as well as the national NHS volunteering scheme.
District councils also have advice and information available
Chamber of Commerce
0808 1689 111 (24/7)
Government tax helpline: 0800 024 1222
Webinars on managing the impact of coronavirus in the workplace from The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
Queries for the PCC?