The police have taken the unprecedented step of asking the public to use its webchat facility instead of calling 101 for non emergencies.
A spokesman told Bedford Today: "Some of the staff in the control room have had to shield because of Covid. But they can still help from home through webchat."
The spokesman added: “Due to unprecedented demand and unforeseen staffing issues, people calling 101 are experiencing longer waiting times than normal.
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“Some staff members in our Force Contact Centre are now having to shield or self-isolate at home due to Covid-19, so we are urging people to report non-urgent crime or issues to us via webchat or the online reporting tool, as these reports can be responded to remotely by staff working from home. We are then able to prioritise any emergency calls coming in.
“Please always call 999 in an emergency.”
The force is suggesting for non-emergencies, like anti-social behaviour or Covid breaches, you access the webchat here