‘Policing not looking forward to the Covid-19 unlocking’
The chair of the Norfolk Police Federation has spoken of his concerns over the wellbeing of police officers following confirmation that most existing lockdown restrictions will end next week.
From Monday, July 19, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020 and capacity limits will be removed for all venues and events. There will no longer be any limits on how many people can meet and the 1m-plus distancing rule will be removed.
Andy Symonds said: “Police officers will probably be in one of the very few occupations that are not looking forward to the July 19 due to the inevitable strong flow of demand that will follow and land onto the door step of police officers to deal.
“Officers are already seeing pre-Covid levels of demand and on many occasions already in recent weeks we’ve seen days in which are busier than demand on New Year’s Eve. This is extremely concerning as it’s my members here in Norfolk that it will directly impact on both physically and mentally.
“We have a hugely inexperienced work force which will take time to mature and we’ve just policed the Euros, provided officers to G7 and will be later this year to COP26. We have summer holidays fast approaching which will place a huge strain on policing.
“It’s OK for the Government to tell us they are recruiting an extra 20,000 police officers but this will only take us back to 2009/10 levels. These officers take a minimum of two years to become substantive officers. We have seen police staff roles which support the back office function within forces completely stripped away.
“This means police officers are now completing tasks many of the purely administrative which were once completed by police staff colleagues. Officers are under serious pressures from attending incidents they are constantly deployed to, trying to investigate an ever-growing caseload of crimes, the huge processing demands placed upon them from the Attorney General guidelines on third party material and redaction.
“I’ve seen officers spend hours upon hours behind a desk redacting a file, which in reality will probably not go anywhere as Crown Prosecution Service won’t run it.”
“My clear message is that officers are stretched beyond breaking point and this means many will break and require the force and our support. I know the great majority of the public understand this but I don’t think government actually do as they won’t even reward officers with a pay rise this year.”