Detectives will help special body recovery teams spot if there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding suspected coronavirus victims who die in their homes.

Small units of police, fire brigade and health service staff are undergoing training to collect the dead across London and ease pressure on hospitals and the London Ambulance Service.

The squads, who are clad head-to-toe in personal protective equipment, will go to houses, care homes, and hospices to confirm the death and the identity of the deceased and support bereaved families before they are taken to a mortuary.

The Pandemic Multi-Agency Response Teams began operating in the capital on Tuesday during projections that around one third of suspected Covid-19 deaths could happen outside hospitals.

At the London Fire Brigade headquarters near London Bridge on Monday, volunteers were shown how to safely put on and remove goggles, gloves, overshoes, protective suits and masks before they enter suspected virus-hit households.

Scotland Yard Superintendent Wayne Matthews told them they should not "underestimate how unpleasant this task is going to be".

This is a very emotionally demanding role. What we are asking the officers to do is essentially deal with one fatality, then another and then another. So obviously the mental robustness and physical aptitude to be able to do this is why we asked for volunteers, people who felt they were able to do this.

Wayne Matthews, Scotland Yard Superintendent

After dealing with a case, the teams have the option of a "decompression period" to deal with any mental heath impact.> Mr Matthews added detectives on the squads would also assess the scene for signs of foul play.

We understand people are now socially isolating, people are being held and that can obviously put up instances of domestic abuse. We need to make sure that in any of the mortality we are dealing with there are no suspicious circumstances.

Wayne Matthews, Scotland Yard Superintendent

The speed of organising the response has challenged emergency services as they prepare to deal with more deaths as the pandemic continues, he added.>Currently, eight units are operating at any one time around the clock, made up of a police constable, detective, firefighter and a clinician, volunteers were told.>Where a clinician is not available to confirm the death, London Ambulance Service staff will be dispatched to addresses separately to pronounce life extinct.>Firefighter Lisa Barker said she signed up to help ease pressure on health services and allow them to prioritise emergency cases.

Everyone's of the same mindset ... we want to serve the people of London in the best capacity we can. If you are in a position you can volunteer and be part of a solution to help Londoners, even at the end of their lives, preserve that dignity, everyone's happy to do that and step up.

Lisa Barker, firefighter