Well good afternoon. I’m glad to be here to have the opportunity to explain how the Department of Home Affairs has been keeping the Island safe during the pandemic.
I am grateful to the dedicated men and women of my Department and proud of what they have achieved and how they have worked together.
In my daily briefings, I have seen and heard first hand of the extraordinary work that people across my Department have done, going above and beyond what would normally be expected of them.
In the Fire and Rescue service, the Police and the Prison and Probation service. In the Communications Division, answering the phone for the 999 service keeping Government communications running.
Each person in the Department has made an individual contribution to the fight against coronavirus.
And the Civil Defence has stood ready to support the emergency services. These volunteers train weekly to be ready to step in, in the event of an emergency. They have helped distribute food parcels and have driven ambulances to support our paramedics.
We have worked with other agencies to protect the most vulnerable, supporting the establishment of a shelter for homeless people, keeping them safe during lockdown. Police officers have put a number of initiatives in place to support people who are subject to Domestic Abuse.
And we have restarted our legislative programme. The Department has three large bills to help reshape our justice system. Domestic Abuse, Sexual Offences and Obscene publications and Justice Reform.
These Bills are crucial to modernising our criminal justice system and it is important that they be allowed to continue.
We are also drafting emergency licensing regulations to support the licensed trade through these unusual times.
So the Department has achieved a lot since the start of this pandemic.
But, it’s important for me to thank you, the Public. You have made the job of the Department easier.
You have been the ones who stuck to the rules. You made personal sacrifices and complied with the law.
The Chief Constable has always said that the Police in our Island operate by consent.
And that has been even more true during this pandemic.
You have supported the Constabulary as they carried out their often difficult work. Policing a lockdown has not been easy, but you made it possible.
And your support has paid off as is clear to see with today’s results – a further day with no new cases.
As we enter a new stage in our response to the coronavirus threat, so the challenges we face will change.
The Chief Minister has said we are backing out of your lives, leaving you to make the choices on how best to stay safe.
This means you’re free to do more things, and with more people. But that also means more responsibility. Responsibility not just for you and your family, but also towards others.
You still cannot leave the house if you have the symptoms of coronavirus or you have been told to self-isolate. You should still keep your distance from others who are not part of your household and continue to wash your hands often.
You can gather in groups of ten, but you need to maintain your social distance.
And if you’re thinking about going out to a glen or on the open moorlands, please remember that we have had an exceptionally dry April and May. The ground is very dry and we have already had a number of incidents.
I would like to hand over to the Chief Fire Officer to explain about the work the Fire and Rescue service have been doing.