Derbyshire Police Federation

Chief's pride in Force

21 December 2020

As I approach the end of 2020, my first year as Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect upon the past year and also look ahead to 2021.

In August this year I took over from Peter Goodman, who had served as Chief Constable for almost four years, and I think it is fair to say that he changed the constabulary during his time into one that is more reflective of policing in the 21st century. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for his service, and wish him the best of luck in his retirement.

Going forwards, you’ll see that I’ll be streamlining the constabulary’s priorities. These will really reflect what most of us joined the police to do in the first place: fighting crime, proactively bringing offenders to justice, and protecting the most vulnerable from harm. Our principle of doing the right thing is something that isn’t going to change, but the streamlined priorities should help you determine what this actually means in practice as the right thing isn’t always the easy thing. I want us to consistently deliver a good service for our communities and for them to trust the service that we give.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated everything that we have done and has, I believe, changed the face of policing forever. I don’t think any of us could have ever imagined that we’d be asked to enforce restrictions upon the private lives of the residents of Derbyshire. I know that this has not been easy, and the Constabulary, and policing in general, has received some completely unjustified criticism about how it has attempted to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable communities. This is a challenge we will continue to need to face well into the New Year.

Let me be absolutely clear, policing is in a very difficult position. However, you must not be fearful of criticism; that is something that I can worry about and respond to if necessary. I am so proud of the way that you have all adapted, and I just ask that you continue to be brilliant until we get through this, together. As I am writing this message, the Chancellor has just announced a pay freeze for the public sector.

I can assure you that we are working through the implications of this but I expect that from next year we’ll start to see a return to some form of financial austerity. This is not good news, and certainly not the message that I’d hoped to give you all just before the festive period. However, I believe that the funding for the uplift of almost 300 officers over the next three years is protected, which means that you should start to feel some pressure relief as our new colleagues filter out onto the frontline.

While the future is looking somewhat uncertain, I hope that the festive period will provide some relief from the toll that this year has taken upon all of us. Some of our colleagues will be really hurting this year after suffering losses of family members or friends, and the festive period will be difficult for them. Please support each other, and take some time to breathe and relax if possible. I send my best wishes, and those of my colleagues in the Executive, for this festive period.

Finally, I know that it is never easy to work over this period, and this year will be especially difficult. If you are working this year, thank you for giving up your time so that others can enjoy theirs in safety.

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