OXLEY police have stepped up patrols of supermarkets and other "essential" services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tamworth officers have called for calm amidst the panic of the state and federal government shutdowns, and are routinely now assigned to monitor the crowds.
Shopping centres, petrol stations, government services like Centrelink and the hospital are all on the list of "essential services", outlined by the government.
"Crews have been tasked to extra patrols to prevent any breach of the beach," Oxley Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy told the Leader on Monday.
"We would call for calm; people have to be respectful of one another and show community spirit and really get behind one another instead of hoarding items or becoming abusive."
Some supermarket aisles have been stripped bare of meat and goods like toilet paper amid panic buying waves. Already one man has been tasered and arrested in Tamworth, accused of assaulting two female staff and assaulting and resisting arrest.
Detective Darcy said locals would see police carrying out extra patrols to enforce the rules and social distancing measures announced by the government.
"Anyone who shoplifts, or who is abusive, violent or obstructive will face the full force of the law," he said.
"There are added security guards on in most of the supermarkets but there will be a police presence there, as well as patrols of other essential services.
"We just want to ensure everyone can go about their business in a calm and safe manner, and get home safely."
Law and order changes
It's one of a host of new measures in the law and order realm including changes to courts; cancellation of all prison visits; and no more stationary roadside breath testing.
Mobile RBTs are still being carried out by local police, but stationary set-up tests, or major roadside operations have been halted.
In Tamworth, mobile patrols are continuing, while in the New England, two drivers have been charged with drink driving in the last few days.
About 2.45am on Monday, a 45-year-old male was charged with low-range drink driving after allegedly returning a positive test; while a 53-year-old man will front court accused of mid-range PCA after he was allegedly detected just after 1.30am on Saturday.
Meanwhile, prison visits to inmates in Tamworth and Glen Innes Correctional Centres have been suspended indefinitely.
The first family and friend visits were suspended on March 16 because of COVID-19 risk fears to inmates, and there is no date to reintroduce them anytime soon.
"Visits will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Health Officer, and federal and state authorities," A Correctives Services NSW spokeswoman said.
"We recognise that contact visits are important to inmates and their loved ones and we are exploring ways to ensure family communication is maintained."