Gin distilleries and breweries are offering their services to ensure the Metropolitan Police's supply of hand sanitiser does not dry up.
While the majority of the UK is on lockdown , the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) remains on the frontline, patrolling the streets of London.
Hand sanitiser is a crucial item for the officers to be able to protect themselves when dealing with prisoners in custody and attending crime scenes.
Staff in the force's Commercial Services department came up with the idea of using the alcohol industry as an alternative source for the supply of hand sanitisers.
The MPS immediately began talks with a range of gin distilleries and breweries, with many offering to supply hand sanitiser to the force.
After ensuring health and safety guidelines were met, and reaching an agreement with different government bodies, the proposal was given the green light.
Director of Commercial Services Mark Roberts said: “Hand sanitiser is an essential item for our officers and staff, especially those on the frontline.
"So I am extremely grateful to all of the suppliers who have agreed to work with us and provide us with this vital commodity, which will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives."
If you’d have told us at the start of 2020 that we’d be switching our distillery production to hand sanitizer for the Met Police, well, we wouldn’t have believed you. Thanks to the hard work of our team & to all the essential workers out there looking after us all at this time. pic.twitter.com/eG3z1aSXns— Portobello Road Gin (@Portobello_Gin)March 24, 2020
The Portobello Road Gin distillery in Notting Hill, 58 Gin Ltd in Haggerston and Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham are among the distilleries who will be providing hand sanitisers for the Met.
Other distilleries approached by the MPS are currently in conversation with other forces and public bodies.
Stephen Russell, one of the founders of the Copper Rivet Distillery, said the staff were already considering using the distillery's facilities to make hand sanitiser before they were approached by the Met.
He told the Evening Standard: "It's not straight forward to make hand sanitiser that is properly effective and to make it safe. But we're quite lucky that our distiller has a background as an industrial microbiologist.
"We were contacted by a couple of police forces and we decided to completely re-engineer the way we do things to produce hand sanitiser.
"We've been working around 20 hours a day to get all of this done as we had to do quite a lot of research over a short period of time."
Mr Russell added that the distillery has access to a bottling line which enables them to produce the product on a large scale.
"All of the raw materials we need, whether that's plastic bottles or most importantly ethanol, have become quite scarce," said the founder.
"Fortunately, we're one of the few craft distilleries that make our own ethanol so we're in a position to become a reliable source throughout this crisis for emergency services."
In addition to help from the gin distilleries, the Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I is donating a significant amount of hand sanitiser to the MPS.
“I’d also like to say a special thank you to Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, which is very kindly going to donate 6,000 litres of this critical product to us," said Mr Roberts.
“It shows the importance and necessity of everyone working together in these challenging times.”
Paula Lindenberg, President of Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said they wanted to respond to respond to the shortage of hand sanitiser for emergency services.
She said: “We at Budweiser Brewing Group are so grateful for the heroic efforts of our UK essential workers, and in this unprecedented time we want to turn our attention to supporting organisations like the Metropolitan Police who are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.”
All potential suppliers to the MPS are producing and selling the hand sanitisers using the formulation provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which allows the product to be made in a timely manner.
All of the analysis, research and exploratory discussions were carried out in under 72 hours by two placement students under tutelage from leaders in Commercial Services.
Within one week of starting discussions, the orders were placed. The MPS expects to receive its first delivery of the hand sanitisers at the start of April.