The risky reality of night time policing

30 October 2016

Blue light siren

Single crewing, increased violence and slow response times is the reality of policing at night.

Figures released in today’s Mail on Sunday highlight the demand placed on officers during one of the most difficult times of the day.

The numbers, which will shock many, show the heavy responsibility placed on the shoulders of such a few.

Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, outlined how ever increasing demands and the knock on effects of busy daytime policing often means even the basics aren’t getting done.  

“Too often officers are either picking up the pieces from earlier incidents or struggling to catch-up on work that they seldom get to even see the frontline”, he said.

“More often than not the public want one thing, to dial 999 and see officer’s arriving moments later. Simply put, that doesn’t and will not always happen. When you see these figures it’s easy to understand why.”

Although the figures show a small increase in the number of officers working at night, the total number across the service has significantly decreased in recent years. Needs are such that resources are being realigned to meet the changing challenges, but this comes at an expense.

Steve White said: “Statistics released last month show that the most serious crimes are on the increase including a 24% rise in violent crime, something that can’t simply be put down to ‘better recording’. Officers are having to react to this as well as filling in the gaps created by cuts in other services, including health, social services and education. And react they will, but at what expense? Increased assaults, increased stress and low morale to name a few.”

“Speaking directly with officers across the country in recent weeks it’s abundantly clear that they don’t feel adequately supported. They don’t feel they have the right equipment to help keep them and the public safe or the available support of colleagues when faced with difficult or violent situations.”

With an increasing demand on support services for officers, including a spike in the number seeking help through the Welfare Support Programme, more must be done to ensure policing can deliver an effective service.

“Federation reps do a fantastic job at supporting officers during tough times but the government must work with us to help ensure that the resources required to protect the public are made available.”