Police forces and fire and rescue services will continue to play a crucial role in protecting the NHS and saving lives following the Prime Minister's announcement of a national lockdown, Home Office ministers said during calls with emergency services leaders on Tuesday.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse held a call with chief constables from police forces in England and Wales. The Minister thanked officers for their tireless efforts throughout the pandemic and reiterated the Government's support for the police's role in enforcing the regulations.

Police will continue to follow their approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and finally enforcing the rules where necessary to save lives.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said:

"This is a crucial moment in our national fight against coronavirus, and the police are playing a vital part in protecting the NHS and saving lives.

"We expect to see an increase in visibility during the national lockdown, and police will continue to target the most serious and harmful breaches of the rules.

"We've asked more of our police than ever before during this pandemic - I know the British public are truly grateful and we'll continue to give them the support they need."

Similarly, Fire Minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh held a call with all chief fire officers from across England to thank them for their efforts in supporting other emergency services during the pandemic.

The Fire Minister said that the next six weeks would be critical and reiterated that continued support from FRSs in the national effort was vital.

Since the start of the pandemic, fire and rescue service staff have voluntarily undertaken a range of additional activities - including delivering essential medical supplies, transporting patients to hospital, and providing training on preventing infections to care home staff.

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said:

"I am immensely proud of the contributions of firefighters and FRS staff during the pandemic.

"They have proved themselves to be ready, willing and able to support the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives."