90 days from today is Sat, 20 July 2024

Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

One year on since lockdown: The Covid-19 pandemic has seen police officers provide a “fantastic” service keeping the public safe

23 March 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen police officers provide a “fantastic” service keeping the public safe during an unforgettable year, Devon and Cornwall Police Federation has said. Andy Berry, Federation Chair, spoke out in praise of his thousands of members at the approach of the anniversary of the first nationwide coronavirus lockdown. 

The stay-at-home order came on 23 March last year, and since then police officers have had to deal with a raft of legislation changes and curb people’s normal freedoms in a manner never seen before - all to keep people safe. 

Andy said: “Police officers have really risen to the challenge. In the early days of Covid, things changed almost hourly. PPE policy was changing in terms of what people could wear and how they should be deployed. Legislation changed regularly and the public were being given new instructions but the police were not getting legislation until days afterwards. There was a huge amount of change and it was very challenging. 

“There was an increase in police assaults; Covid was being weaponised. Police officers have had to rise to the challenge of telling the public that they cannot do things that they have spent their life doing - things that have always been legal and will be again after June.

“But it was a big ask to the officers who were telling people they couldn’t go and visit their grandmother and that they would have to turn the car around. There was a different sort of conflict that we haven’t seen since the inception of the police. But for the most part the public and the police officers have just got on with it and they should be congratulated.” 

Police officers also had to keep coming to work in the face of unknown danger, Andy added. While people were told to stay at home where they could, police officers kept showing up to duty, not knowing how likely they were to fall ill or risk endangering their or their family’s lives. 

There was no working from home for the majority of police officers.

Andy added: “They still put on their uniforms and their flimsy masks and went out and did their best for the public. They should be proud of themselves for doing that. They have risen to that challenge and exceeded all expectations.”