CHESHIRE Police has launched a new operation to enhance its efforts to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

This will see specially trained volunteers being as visible as possible in the local community, engaging with people and providing vital reassurance and support to both residents and businesses.

Proactive patrols will be conducted around schools and business premises, with volunteer officers working to deter, disrupt and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, 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.”

The volunteers will be engaging with people, explaining regulations and encouraging people to take them on board to ensure that everyone is fully complying with lockdown restrictions.

Only as a last resort will enforcement action be taken, when it is necessary and appropriate.

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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 is 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.

“We are so proud of our volunteers, who have shown an outstanding dedication to serve and protect the county.”

Celvyn Jones, special constabulary chief officer, added: “The contribution made by the special constabulary in Cheshire is nothing short of inspiring.

“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.”

For more information on the special constabulary, visit cheshire.police.uk.