A message from Norfolk Police Federation Chairman Andy Symonds
- By Elaine Bird
- 02 April 2020
- North-West Norfolk
Help us to help you…. and save lives. A statement from Andy Symonds dated 2.4.2020.
Policing during the effective lockdown is going to be incredibly difficult. Many police officers are and will be in self-isolation or caring for family members who are themselves unwell. Most police officers do not have the option to work from home and they will be interacting with people with the virus, which will then has the potential to reduce the numbers of available officers further.
Officers are having to face the great difficulties in policing in this testing period. Sadly officers get assaulted on an all to regular basis for just doing their job. In addition to this I’m aware of the case in which an officer was coughed at in the face by a women who made the threat to the officer that she had Coronavirus. This is simply abhorrent and to weaponize the Coronavirus in this way is completely shocking and can never ever be tolerated by us a society. I’m pleased to see that the Magistrates have handed down a jail sentence of 12 weeks for this crime. This sends a strong deterrent message to anyone else thinking about doing anything of a similar nature towards a police officer or any of us.
Officers have the same concerns and anxieties about their friends and loved ones. Some of our officers are in the high-risk category themselves or have family that are in the high risk categories. We are no different to anyone else during this crisis, we are human beings that happen to earn a living policing our community. Officers also have the concerns and worries about risking their own health when coming into work every day. We’re thankful for the vast majority of our communities who have shown great support towards us
Locally I have and will continue to be in regular contact with the Chief Constable along with other Chief officers to continue to make the case on behalf of the officers we represent. The top priority is for more PPE to mitigate the risk to our members. Officers work brings them into close contact with people who are either suspected or have the virus, therefore PPE is vital to protect the health of our officers. At the moment like the NHS, PPE is in short supply. We simply don’t have enough. I know the Chief is doing all he can to secure more PPE for officers.
Nationally the Police Federation of England and Wales is in constant contact with the Government and other policing stakeholders regarding the latest advice to our members. The National Chair has spoken to the Home Secretary personally about the need for more personal protective equipment for officers and more, clearer guidance on the powers that come with this lockdown.
We’ve seen nationally some criticism from some in how different forces are interpreting the new laws the Government recently passed in relation to the Corona Virus lockdown. We need some understanding and leeway to get to grips with this new law which is in its infancy but at heart officers want to help and protect people in these challenging times.
I ask that the public stay inside and help take the pressure off, not just the NHS, but the entire emergency services family. Police officers will step up and do the best we can to save lives – but the general public needs to step up too.