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: January 2021
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
- Email: email@example.com
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.
How have you been supporting the services you commission?
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 - 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?
There are various ways you can contact Devon and Cornwall Police in a non-emergency, these include:
- Using live webchat at dc.police.uk (link to this facility at bottom right of Devon and Cornwall Police homepage)
- Using the online crime reporting form
- Emailing 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.
If you need advice but not sure who to contact, visit AskNed - Devon and Cornwall Police's non-emergency directory. AskNed combines the most commonly asked questions with contact details of those who can help.
I have intelligence about a crime – who should I contact?
Please continue to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on the details listed above for non-emergencies. If it is an emergency situation, always call 999
You can also report crime and intelligence anonymously via Crimestoppers either by calling 0800 555111 or by using their online reporting system at crimestoppers-uk.org
Where can victims of crime access help and support?
Individuals affected by crime can contact Victim Support, Devon and Cornwall, by:
- Calling 0300 303 0554 (12pm until 6pm on Monday to Friday)
- Calling 0808 1689 111 (national Supportline available 24/7)
- Using live 24/7 web chat at 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 kooth.com for free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.
Please find below some useful telephone numbers for anyone who may be struggling or feel vulnerable at this challenging time:
- CALM: 0800 585858
Childline: 0800 1111
Cornwall mental health helpline: 0800 038 5300
Cornwall First Light: 0300 777 4777
Devon mental health helpline: 0300 555 5000
Devon Splitz: 0345 155 1074
Livewell South West (Plymouth) mental health helpline: 01752 434922
Mind: 0300 123 33393
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Over 50's Alcohol Helpline: 0808 8010750
Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service: 0800 458 2558
Samaritans: 116 123
Sexual Assault Referral Centre: 0300 3034626
Shout: text 'SHOUT' to 85258
Stop Hate UK: 0800 138 1625
The Mix: 0808 808 4884
Torbay Domestic Abuse Service: 0800 916 1474
Victim Care Unit: 01392 475900
Victim Support: 0808 1689 111
Devon and Cornwall Police has published a series of Covid-19 frequently asked questions on their website. These FAQs cover topics such as travel, events/gatherings, crime, policing during the pandemic and Covid-19 legislation.
You can find these FAQs and further Covid-19 advice at dc.police.uk/coronavirus
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
You can find further information about dealing with scams and fraud at:
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.
Test 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
Fake NHS Covid-19 vaccination text alert
You can find more information here.
Are the courts in England and Wales still functioning during the COVID-19 restrictions?
You can find information, advice and guidance about courts and tribunals during Covid-19 on the government website: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-courts-and-tribunals-planning-and-preparation
Witnesses services support
You can find information and advice about the witness service during Covid-19 on the government website: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-victim-and-witness-services
Prison visiting and contact arrangements
You can find information and guidance about prison arrangements and visits on the government website: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-and-prisons
Information for voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system
Clinks has published helpful advice and support for those working in voluntary sector of the criminal justice system on their website: clinks.org/our-work/coronavirus-covid-19
How can I assist the police at this time?
The best way to assist the police at this time is to follow government guidelines and stay at home. This will reduce pressure on policing services who will need to enforce the restrictions on businesses 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 please still make contact – you can find advice and guidance on how to do this under the "contacting the police (emergency and non-emergency)" tab above.
How can I support and help vulnerable people in my community?
Arrangements to volunteer and help vulnerable people in your community are developing regularly. We would recommend that you consult the below websites for general information from local authority services and community support groups 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.
District councils also have advice and information available
Chamber of Commerce
Victim Support: 0808 1689 111 (24/7) & victimsupport.org.uk
Victim Care Unit: 01392 475900 & victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk/
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?