‘COVID-19 is a national issue and we are ready to respond to any request,’ says police department |18 March 2020
“COVID-19 is a national issue and whatever we do in response to any request is done in consultation with all stakeholders.”
This was said by deputy commissioners of police, Ted Barbe and Romano Songor, in a press meet yesterday at their headquarters in Victoria.
They came forward to reassure the public that they are ready to intervene and help the nation and also to talk about their contingency plan.
Rapid response teams active on the field
Deputy Commissioner Ted Barbe stressed on the fact that during this special situation “the daily routine work is ongoing and we also activated a new plan to assist the Ministry of Health with specific requests and to assist the public in general to maintain peace and order in the country”.
Furthermore, DCP Barbe added that six response teams are active in the different regions including Praslin and La Digue. These teams are equipped with logistic facilities such as transport who will respond to calls from the Ministry of Health or any urgent issue.
DCP Barbe also said that all officers are equipped with protective gear.
DCP Romano Songor added that the police’s contingency plan to deal with this situation encompasses all activities that are happening and will happen in the country.
“If ever we receive reports that an addict has been affected with COVID-19, definitely we will assist the Ministry of Health as they are the main agency to manage the situation.”
Preparedness of the officers
Responding to a question regarding the preparedness of the officers, DCP Songor noted that “currently there are 900 officers in the force and it has enough manpower to react to any emergency situation. When the police department made our plan, we involved various stakeholders to make sure we get a quick response. We will attend regularly to offences and will act accordingly. The police department is here to maintain law and order in the country. Of course when there is a special situation, all our officers are made aware and informed that at any point they will be required to work odd hours. Already some training is being conducted for the officers to prepare themselves. All officers with health risks have been removed from the response team. We are also working very closely with DRDM.”
Children should stay at home
Children should stay home as advised by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. But as we saw in town, there were some groups of students gathered here and there. DCP Barbe confirmed that indeed, the regular police force asked the students found roaming to go back home and some obeyed whereas others moved to other places.
“We asked all the parents to make a special effort to contain their children at home,” stressed DCP Barbe.
No restriction of movement for now
Will there be any restriction of movement? The deputy commissioners noted that all will depend on how the pandemic evolves in Seychelles.
“COVID-19 is a national concern and we will deal with it together and according to the guidance received from the health ministry and the Office of the President. The police will not act alone as it is a national issue. The police for now is being able to maintain its operation and if there is any lockdown and we need the help of the military then we will make a request for that, but for now we are managing well.”
The police urged the public to listen to the news and guidance given every day by the Ministry of Health and to respect the advice.
The meeting was also attended by ASP Antoine Desnousse, deputy head of CID Justin Dogley, head of the response service Dac Ambra, ASP Hendrick Leon, Superintendent Christelle Marie and Inspector David Uzice.