Derbyshire Police Federation

Policing the pandemic: public urged to work with officers

24 November 2020

The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation is encouraging the public to work with police officers when tougher new regional tiers are introduced to control the spread of coronavirus.

Tony Wetton says the Federation is seeking clarity over the details of the new tiers, which will replace the current national lockdown when it ends on 2 December.

But he said that the police have had “fantastic support” from the public throughout the pandemic and hopes that will continue through Christmas and into 2021.

Tony said: “It’s been a really demanding period for police officers. They’ve been policing this pandemic as well as continuing to carry out their other duties, and all while managing the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has thrown up around their home and family lives.

“They’re only human and feel the same stresses and strains as everyone else. The vast majority of the public have given us fantastic support and stuck to the rules to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

“I’m sure that will continue when the new rules come into force next Thursday (3 December).

“As a Federation, we’re seeking more information and more clarity so that my colleagues and the public know what is and what isn’t allowed within the law.”

Tony’s comments came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night set out a new three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions for England.

The Government will announce which areas of England will be in which tiers this Thursday, but more areas are expected to be placed into higher tiers.

Ché Donald, national vice-chair of the Police Federation, said the new rules could be difficult to enforce, particularly if there’s a relaxation over Christmas.

“Police officers are human beings who are doing an extraordinary job in extraordinary circumstances,” he said, “However, a potential short-term relaxation of Covid-19 regulations and a return to the tier system represents a unique challenge and will be next to impossible to police.

“We will not be trying to spoil people’s fun or ruin Christmas - we’re trying to stop this deadly virus taking more lives. The vast majority of the public understand this and support us.

“However, we’ve also been criticised by some for enforcing too much – while others have said it’s not enough.

“A limited break in restrictions may also introduce scenarios where travelling across the UK to visit family could be a breach of regulations one day and not the next.

“My colleagues will step up to this challenge - as they have many times since the lockdown began in March.

“But our message to the Government is police officers need clearer and more consistent rules which can be enforced fairly, and the public need clearer instructions so that they know what they are allowed to do within the law.”

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