17 December 2020
A message from South Area Commander Chief Superintendent Dave Cox
Like so many other people, particularly those in the police service, I would never have believed a year ago that in 12 months’ time there would be hundreds of police officers working from home but, I have to say, the new flexibility has been an unexpected success in what has been a difficult period.
It is quite simply amazing how quickly an organisation adapts to new ways of working when it needs to. This is how we should be all the time; we shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things and we shouldn’t be afraid to innovate.
I am really proud of how people within the Force have responded. All officers and police staff have adapted remarkably well to policing through the pandemic. Processes have become more convoluted and difficult and we are all, me included, operating in a new environment. We always try to get it right – sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t but that’s all part of the learning process.
There is no template for this but what has been particularly good is the resilience and flexibility of the teams. I’m genuinely proud of how we have worked through the last year and what we have achieved in most unusual circumstances.
We have had to adapt to the restrictions that are in place and enable people to continue to work. Some of this is where we have enabled agile working in whole teams. I’m really pleased that we have managed to keep business, mostly, as usual and those of you who have adapted to working away from the office have certainly contributed to that. Crime hasn’t gone away because of Covid-19 but you’ve all made sure that the fight against crime has continued.
From a personal perspective, I know I would have struggled working from home but I fully acknowledge that it may work well for others. I am a big believer in being around your colleagues and having a collaborative working environment. It would have driven me nuts being at home through all this but some of you may have found that it worked really well for you. I also recognise there were some officers who had to work from home who found it incredibly difficult to do so. The challenge has been staying in touch and preventing people feeling isolated.
Essentially, the work hasn’t stopped. Every day cops and police staff have put themselves in the line of fire. You have been assaulted, spat at – sometimes by people claiming to have Covid-19. There have been some very distasteful incidents and ones where cops have found themselves in danger.
I am absolutely worn out and I know most of you will be too. Please support your colleagues, help them if they are struggling, stay in touch with those who are working from home – it’s probably not their choice that they are there. I know there is a lot of work on at the moment and I know in particular sergeants have a heavy workload which we are trying to look for ways to alleviate.
But if you are struggling please speak up as there is a lot of support around the organisation.
As for Christmas and the New Year, it may be a bit different this year but please enjoy and celebrate Christmas. It’s probably been a year when we have all reflected on what is most important to us: that’s our family and friends.
I’d like to thank the teams for everything that they have done, whatever the role or contribution. I’m very proud of what we have achieved. The Division is in a good place and I’m very proud of what we have achieved.
I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas.