This is a really uncertain and worrying time for us all with huge changes to how we live and work. It is very important, that we follow the government’s advice, not only for our health but for the economy too.

Allison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner, who lives in TorbayAllison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner, who lives in Torbay

The impact of the disease economically and to our way of life will be enormous – at least in the short term.

However, there are certain public services that must continue to function where they can, including vital support for victims of crime.

Police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “My office and the police are working hard to mitigate any rise in crime and our police force is well prepared to deal with the situation but it is a sad fact that during these challenging times, we must be prepared for a possible rise in crime such as domestic abuse.

"A crime that always increases whenever people spend significant amounts of time with their families at home.”

It may be that you know someone who is experiencing domestic abuse which has escalated because of having to spend more time at home. If so, there is information and advice, including a directory of services, on the Are You OK website (www.areyouok.co.uk) If they feel they are in immediate danger, they should always contact the police on 999.

Alison continued: “Other crime such as fraud, hate crime and child sexual exploitation will also become more prevalent. Therefore it is vital that victims of crime know where they can access the support they need.”

Accessing support

Run by the Victim Support charity, Live Chat is available on the Victim Care website where further help and support can be found.

Victims of crime in Devon and Cornwall can chat to someone online who can offer emotional and practical support and advice. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the service is anonymous, confidential and free to use. The channel can also be accessed via Victim Support’s website.

The Victim Care Unit can be contacted on 01392 475900 from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at the weekend. Information on the practical and emotional support on offer is available on their website.

In a non-emergency, crime can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 101 webchat or on the online crime reporting form, which is available on the force website. There is also the Force’s AskNed system that provides online advice on a range of issues and by signing up to Neighbourhood Alert regular updates and information can be received from the OPCC. This can be done via devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk.

Crime can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via its website.

The situation continues to change rapidly so for up-to-date advice on the Covid-19 virus visit the force website, as well as the government's website.

Useful websites: www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk; www.devon-cornwall.police.uk; ww.crimestoppers-uk.org
and www.gov.uk