WEST Mercia Police might have to start changing the way it works, but the public is being told there will always be officers on duty.

There are "tried and tested" plans in place to ensure services continue despite an increase in demand or staff shortages brought by the coronavirus outbreak.

Head of local policing, chief superintendent Tom Harding, said he understands people's concerns about how the virus will affect the police force.

He said: “I know many people will be worried and concerned about the scale of the impact Covid-19 will have.

“The response is very much being led by Public Health England and as I’m sure you would expect we are working closely with our colleagues in health and other partners.

“Police play an important role in co-ordinating the work of relevant agencies during major incidents. During the flooding we experienced last month, I witnessed first-hand how well partners and the community can come together to look after each other and am confident we will see the same as we navigate our way through the next few months.

“As a police service we have tried and tested plans in place to ensure we continue to provide critical services in times of increased demand, or if we experience staffing capacity issues.

“We may need to modify some of our services or find alternative ways of working, however, I can offer my assurances there will always be police officers on duty, day and night.

“We will continue to work 24/7 365 and we will continue to make sure we put our resources where they are needed to ensure we respond to emergency calls.

“If it is an emergency please ring 999 however if it is not urgent please consider if you do need to call us, there is plenty of advice and guidance on our website.

“Finally, my plea is that over the next few months we all look after and support each other, family, friends and neighbours.

"Following last month’s flooding I’ve heard many inspiring stories of how communities came together to support each other and I’m sure that whatever impact COVID-19 has over the coming months we will all pull together as a community and help look after each other in a similar way.”