9 October 2020
The Force is being given more than £400,000 to help fund its coronavirus enforcement work.
Details of a total of £60 million in surge funding were announced on Wednesday. The funding will be split equally between local councils and police forces.
Derbyshire’s share of policing’s £30 million will be £424,165.
“We welcome this extra funding,” says Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, “But I am a little at a loss to see what more policing can do over and above what it is already doing. We just don’t have enough police officers to be doing all this extra work given the demands that are already placed on us.
“During the cuts to police budgets, our numbers plummeted and, while we are now in the midst of a recruitment campaign, our numbers are not even back to where they were 10 years ago. We simply cannot be all things to all people – our primary role is fighting crime and keeping order. We will do all we can to support the fight against coronavirus but ultimately we need the public to follow the guidelines and play their part too.”
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has also welcomed the extra funding saying any genuine new money which helps ease the current pressure on policing can only be a positive thing.
But he sounded a note of caution, saying: “My question is, what is expected in return? Policing is over-stretched, and colleagues are already doing all they can during this pandemic. Any suggestion that this extra money would take away the discretion which permits police officers to do their jobs to the best of their ability would be counterproductive and damaging. Alongside this announcement must be an effective public information campaign. This must make it crystal clear what is expected of the public.
“Police officers are already targeting those who wilfully breach Covid-19 regulations and this will continue. The new money will assist policing, but what we really need are more officers and a better communication strategy from the Government.”
The Government announcement said the aim was for police to be more visible to ensure members of the public comply with the restrictions in place to try to halt the spread of coronavirus while councils would get funding and guidance to support compliance and enforcement.
It would, ministers explained, enable police to increase patrols in town centres and ensure that people are complying with the new restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas. The police would also, they said, provide more support to local authorities and NHS Test and Trace to enforce self-isolation requirements.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The vast majority of the British public has come together, followed the law and helped prevent the spread of this virus.
“But we’ve been clear that, with infections rising, we will not allow a small minority of people to reverse our hard-won progress.
“This extra funding will strengthen the police’s role in enforcing the law and make sure that those who jeopardise public health face the consequences.”
Forces will be required to provide the Home Office with enforcement plans to demonstrate how the money is being used to tackle non-compliance with public health rules.