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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Christmas and New Year Message from Mark Loker, Chair, Avon and Somerset Police Federation

23 December 2021

Christmas and New Year Message from Mark Loker, Chair, Avon and Somerset Police Federation.

At the end of what has been the most extraordinarily challenging year I wanted to invite you to reflect upon the year, where we started, what makes us great and where we are now.

Within the first 3 months of 2021 it seemed like the world was ending for a moment, there seemed no hope, no bright future, it was all doom and gloom, the glass was very much half full. I have never known a year where there has been so much unrest, so much fear and so much uncertainty so early.

For a number of reasons there has been a seemingly never-ending wave of doom and gloom when it comes to policing. Constant criticism of heavy-handed policing, it seemed dark days for British Policing in amongst dark days for the world, even more so in the latter 3 months of this year.

But we have also witnessed the amazing. We witnessed bravery, courage and human brilliance and resilience and we stood strong. The 82-year-old Brian Pinker having the first Covid 19 vaccine, 100-year-old Captain Tom and the 73 year old NHS supporting the weight of a nation - the old teaching us what makes us great.

I have been referring to the Peelian principles of Policing lately and reflecting on how relevant they are today as they once were, principles that are just shy of 200 years old. It was and still is a philosophy of policing unique throughout the world because it was derived not from fear but almost exclusively from public co-operation. It then struck me, we all too often just deal with the now, we are so busy that we don’t spend enough time looking at history. History is the foundation we all build upon, it should be revered, it should remain relevant. History will always be the best teacher we have, it will always be a guide to us and it will always give us comfort and solace that we can succeed and we can triumph, even in the face of the greatest adversity.

I was reading a parish magazine that came through my door and in an article, someone had written it said ‘We owe a huge debt of gratitude to every key worker and we all know at least one, whether they be doctors, carers, teachers, food suppliers, local authority workers etc.’ Not a mention of the emergency services and after my anger and disappointment it struck me, we are taken for granted, but in a good way. We are always there, we are depended upon because we are dependable and that gave me hope, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of the public support us and we should never forget that.

So, whilst it is easy to look at the doom and gloom, it is more important to look for the hope, seek out the positives and the light. We have always got the job done and we will continue to do so, that is what makes Policing amazing. We face adversity daily, we face it head on and quite right too, but look at our history, we truly stand on the shoulders of giants and we beat adversity every time.

So, let us confine 2021 to history and look forward to 2022, to new challenges and to new success.

For those of you working over Christmas and New Year’s, from my family to yours, please stay safe, be kind, remember the rules and I hope you are all able to spend some quality time with your families and loved ones.

Mark Loker
Chair, Avon and Somerset Police Federation