Dozens of new Covid marshals to become 'the eyes and ears of the districts'
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
Dozens more coronavirus marshals will be introduced across Norfolk to act as "the eyes and ears of the districts" once lockdown is lifted, it has been announced.
Norfolk County Council, which since June has received £7,262,080 as part of the government's Contain Outbreak Management Fund, is pumping a chunk of the cash into Covid "support officers".
As well as helping bring the county "down into tier one" through encouragement and advice, they will act as messengers for environmental health teams who can take legal action against "repeat offenders".
Some districts, such as Norwich and Great Yarmouth, already have marshal equivalents. But from next Monday, all boroughs will have some form of "visible presence" to keep the public in line.
Highlighting the importance of the role Tom McCabe, Norfolk’s Resilience Forum chairman, said: “The feedback on their role has largely been really positive, with our communities recognising that these officers are working with them to keep us all safe."
Great Yarmouth, which has had marshals in place since October following a spike in cases, will be increasing the number of patrolling officers from six to ten, with an additional cohort of "flexible officers" to be drawn on if necessary. They will continue to patrol schools and leaflet high-risk households.
Norwich City Council will also be increasing the number of Covid support officers from six to 20. They will patrol the city daily from 9am-6pm.
King's Lynn and West Norfolk, which has been relying on security guards, staff from Alive leisure and college students to patrol retail areas and school gates, will continue this approach. On top of these it has recruited "a number of marshals".
North Norfolk, meanwhile, is introducing six Covid support officers for the first time, who will patrol market towns and seaside resorts where footfall remains high. They will begin working from Wednesday.
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Breckland and Broadland and South Norfolk councils will be introducing 10 Covid support officers/ advisers also for the fist time, with posts to take effect in Broadland next Monday.
Their role will again be one of providing support rather than enforcement.
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In Breckland, whose marshals will be in place by tomorrow, the team will have an additional function as supporters of test-and-trace through door-knocking. Two new Covid Compliance Officers have also been recruited to support new enforcement powers the districts have been given.