A POLICE officer who died at his Bournemouth home while in self-isolation with coronavirus symptoms was a custody sergeant.

Tributes have been paid to the 56-year-old, described as popular and well-respected.

The officer, who has not yet been named, died just before 10am yesterday.

Anna Harvey, Chair of Dorset Police Federation, said: "This is devastating news. The thoughts of Dorset Police officers are with our colleague's family, friends and loved ones and close colleagues at this terrible time.”

She added: “Our colleague was a popular, well-respected Custody Sergeant - one of the most difficult and challenging police roles. But it was one he was expert in and he had the respect of his colleagues.

"We are there to look out for our colleagues who will be mourning this terrible news and those family and loved ones he has left behind. We ask that their privacy is respected."

The force said the officer had been unwell since Christmas with a chest infection. He had been off sick since Thursday March 19 and went into self-isolation following COVID-19 guidance from the NHS after displaying symptoms.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: "It is not yet confirmed if the death is COVID-19-related and I would strongly emphasise that it is too early to speculate on the circumstances surrounding his death.

"We are all deeply saddened by the death. This is a huge loss to the police family and my thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family, friends and close friends, many of whom are Dorset Police colleagues. I have relayed to them my deepest condolences."