THE Chief Constable of West Midlands Police David Thompson has pledged officers and staff "will continue to work every hour of every day" to keep the public safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Following significant social restrictions introduced last night by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Thompson has outlined what people can expect from the force and what the force expects from members of the public.

He said the new measures were "unprecedented in peacetime" but he added: "I want to assure you that my officers and staff will continue to work every hour of every day to keep you safe. We will protect you.

"That is our duty and that is my promise to you.

"But this is my ask of you. I urge the people of the West Midlands to follow the new instructions. They are essential and it will save lives.

"Nothing is more important."

He said officers and PCSOs would be visible in communities and added: "I have asked them all to engage positively but safely with anyone we suspect is in breach of the new regulations."

He said if officers have to talk to members of the public they will:

• Make it clear they are dealing with a national health emergency

• Reinforce the importance of complying with the new measures

• Strongly encourage people to adhere to them at all times

• Reinforce that measures are there to protect the country and in particular the vulnerable

• Ask people not to buy more food than they need.

He added: "If people do not listen to our advice then we will move to enforcement."

The force has already received "many calls" - he said - regarding potential breaches of the arrangements and the News has been contacted about groups continuing to congregate in Lye.

A concerned member of the public said they had called the police to report the matter but heard nothing further.

Meanwhile - Mr Thompson said: "People can advise us if there are large scale breaches with large numbers of people congregating via webchat or 101.

"We would ask you to trust that we will target the most problematic behaviour.

"This will only work if people make sensible choices and observe what they are being told.

"The country is facing a challenging period when helping each other and being good neighbours and friends has never been so vital.

"As Chief Constable I know our communities will rise to the challenge and we will all work together to prevent the spread of the virus."