I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you in the police service a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Over the past year we have all been reminded of what an important job police officers and staff do. In April, police officers and staff did a magnificent job in helping the public to celebrate the Royal Wedding safely and securely. No less significant is the tireless work you do every day to cut crime and keep communities safe up and down the country.
But the greatest challenge that the police faced this year was undoubtedly the summer riots. I believe police officers and staff responded tremendously to this challenge. When I spoke to officers who had been on the scene of rioting in London and in Manchester, I was struck by the heroism and the selflessness of those officers who put their lives on the line to restore order to Britain’s streets.
I know many of you made sacrifices over the summer – your holiday plans were disrupted; you worked double shifts; mutual assistance came from forces across the country; leave was cancelled; some of you even slept on station floors.
Alongside those personal hardships, we also saw some truly astonishing acts of bravery – police officers standing up for the innocent and the frightened, taking on the thugs and the looters. More than 300 officers were injured. Every force was affected, whether their area faced rioting or not. And that’s the thing about the police - you do your best to protect the public and fight crime come what may. That’s why I always say that in Britain we have the finest police in the world.
These are tough times but the police continues to serve the public with distinction. On behalf of the British public, thank you.
I know Christmas and the New Year are a busy time in policing and I know next year will be no quieter. We have the Diamond Jubilee to look forward to and then the once-in-a-lifetime spectacular that will be the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Many of you across the country will be involved in making sure the Games can be enjoyed safely by all. So with a busy year ahead, I hope you will be able to spend some time with your friends and family over the festive period.
On behalf of the Scottish government it gives me great pleasure to send seasons greetings to everyone working in the police service in Scotland.
Scotland is enjoying the lowest crime rate in 35 years and your hard work and dedication has been central to that achievement.
Communities across the country rely on the police service every single day of the year and that’s why, despite the budget cuts facing Scotland, we remain totally committed to a well resourced and resilient police service.
You will be aware that we are working closely with the service to deliver a new single police service for Scotland. It aims to protect all you have worked so hard to deliver.
I know many of you will be working during the holiday period, keeping our people safe as they enjoy the festivities. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for all your efforts, in wishing you and your families a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
First Minister, Scotland
Christmas is a very special time of the year where most people get the opportunity to relax with their friends and family.
Police officers and staff, however, provide a vital service to our community 365 days a year and I know many of you will be working throughout the festive period.
So let me take this opportunity to thank you all for the work you do in keeping the country safe.
As Justice Minister for Northern Ireland, my thoughts at this time go particularly to the Kerr family who will be experiencing their first Christmas since losing Ronan in April. Like all in the police family who have experienced the loss of a loved one, this will be a difficult time and my thoughts and prayers are with them.
2011 was also the tenth anniversary of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The service has come a long way in its ten years and enjoys overwhelming support from the vast majority of the community. This is a tribute to the professionalism and courage of those who provide personal policing despite the threats they work under. I am deeply impressed by the calibre of the brave men and women I have met who serve the community in every part of Northern Ireland and I am very proud to be “their Minister”. We can all be very proud of the work you do on our behalf in making our communities a safer place to live.
So, to officers and staff across the UK, thank you for all you do. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2012.
Justice Minister, NI