A new operation has been launched by the Special Constabulary in Cheshire to help protect people during the coronavirus pandemic.
The force-wide operation will see the specially trained volunteers being as visible as possible in the local community, engaging with people and providing reassurance and support to both residents and businesses.
The Special Constabulary will be conducting patrols around schools and business premises across each Local Policing Unit area, where they will be working to deter, disrupt and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire David Keane said: "Our Special Constabulary officers carry-out a selfless and vital role, putting themselves and their families at risk by supporting the policing effort and keep us all safe during this crisis.
"Many Special Constables have increased their hours to support the frontline policing effort with some even working almost full-time hours to support this operation.
"I would like to thank them for their dedicated service. We would not be able to deliver this important operation without their support."
As part of the new legislation that is in place, the Specials will also be following the 4E's approach – engaging with people, explaining the reasons behind the regulations and encouraging them to take it on board to ensure that everyone is fully complying with these restrictions.
Only as a last resort will enforcement action be taken, when it is necessary and appropriate.
Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: "I would like to thank the Special Constabulary for all the hard work that they are doing to ensure the people of Cheshire are kept safe during this unprecedented time.
"By providing vital support to our frontline officers this operation, led by the Special Constabulary, is just another way in which we are engaging, explaining and encouraging the public during the lockdown.
"This operation is not in response to any increase in crime but it is there to prevent crime and help provide vital reassurance to the local community – and, in particular, schools and businesses across the county.
"We are so proud of our volunteers who have shown an outstanding dedication to serve and protect the county."
Special Constabulary Chief Officer Celvyn Jones said: "I am extremely proud of our Special Constabulary who have continued to commit and perform their duties during this national emergency.
"We have seen an increase of volunteering hours from the team. The team dedicate their spare time in supporting their communities and protecting Cheshire
"Our officers will be engaging members of the community, providing advice, reassurance and a watchful eye to residents, schools and business owners during this challenging time.
"The contribution made by the Special Constabulary in Cheshire is nothing short of inspiring and I would encourage members of the community to consider if the unique and rewarding role of Special Constable could be one for you in the future and to visit the Cheshire Constabulary website for more information."