The man overseeing Derbyshire's police has said the force is preparing to lose one in three of its workforce as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said that quashing the spread of the virus was paramount and that the force was working to ensure it could maintain sufficient staffing levels.
He said that asking staff and officers to self-isolate when they show symptoms of the virus could see the force running with two-thirds of its staff.
The force is drawing up plans to ensure it can still combat and respond to emergencies despite reduced staffing.
Meanwhile, this year’s intended police and crime commissioner election in May has been postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 outbreak – giving Mr Dhindsa another year in office.
Mr Dhindsa told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The gold command group (the emergency services) have been meeting regularly preparing for what will be a potentially massive impact on public services.
“We are preparing for a 30 per cent reduction in our workforce and we are making sure that we can still operate a proper service for the public and can still respond to emergencies.
“If the worst happens and the infection spreads we need to ensure we are on hand and able to maintain essential public order and safety.
“We are looking at ways of mitigating the impact.
“We need to have police officers working but must also ensure we are self-isolating officers who show symptoms of coronavirus to stop the spread.”
He said that responding to Covid-19 was now the most important issue.
At the weekend, plans were revealed that Royal Military Police could be called in to help support local police forces, while troops may drive ambulances and fire engines.
Emergency legislation set to be introduced this week would give the police powers to detain people suspected of having Covid-19.
The new law would last for two years.