Derbyshire Police Federation

The pandemic has caused us all to think differently

16 December 2020

A message from head of operations for North BCU, Superintendent Richard Alton

I have been giving some serious thought as to key messages that I would like to deliver to the staff that work throughout North BCU. I hope my message touches upon not just the Federated ranks within the North but also the police staff and our colleagues throughout the whole Force area.

This year has presented many challenges and has seen the organisation change how it works with some changes some would have never thought we would have seen in our life-time of policing. Covid-19 and the pandemic has caused us all to think differently in both work and our family life.

If I touch upon the policing side first. I took up this post in the summer when the policing response to the pandemic was in full swing seeing many people working from home, with some forced to do so because of personal health issues. This was rightly so; as an organisation we should look after those who are unable to come into the workplace and help them through the pandemic.

We have seen an increase in people working from home and again this has been welcomed by many. What we must not forget though is those who have actually made this possible from support staff on BCU to those within Information Services, who I would commend. They have been able to produce equipment to support the majority of staff, ensuring that we can stay safe and work in this new way to support the services we deliver.

I wish though to make a special mention to those within the policing arena who have not been able to work from home, those who have kept the frontline delivery possible, whether this be staff within CMARC, custody or crime investigation and for those who I see day to day pushing themselves to deliver that policing response 24/7.

One thing the pandemic has not broken is the will of all Derbyshire officers and staff to continue delivering the policing service to those we serve. I, for one, am extremely proud to be a part of the response. I know my place though and it is those staff who are receiving calls and responding to the public who call us in their time of need who get my respect for how they continue to serve day in, day out.

I could not do an article as we come to the final part of the year without spending a little time to reflect on the last couple of months since I have been in post. I am enjoying every minute but I do know some of you have not enjoyed the job as much as I think you should.

There has been significant pressure upon staff throughout this BCU and I thank those who have raised the issues they may have been facing over their wellbeing. One of my many jobs is to try to do the very best for the officer and staff team and to ensure whatever we do does not put unrealistic pressure onto people who are already under strain.

I vowed at the start of my tenure to remove, wherever possible some pressures from the frontline. The BCU has seen the introduction of the North Investigation Hub and the introduction of the Crime to Resolution Team. The Crime to Resolution Team was part of a longer-term project in place before I came to the BCU but I would like to thank BCU Commander Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnet for giving me the freedom to support this with the investigation hub.

There were some who doubted what this would bring to the BCU but the feedback we have received would suggest that this is starting to release some of the pressures that officers face. This is still in its early days but the work that those within the unit have done to date is nothing but exemplary. The unit has gone way above my expectations and I hope that as a BCU we can move and develop this even more over the next six months to remove even more pressure from frontline officers and staff.

My final thought is about all of you. It is not lost on me that you too have had many pressures placed upon you over the last year. Some of you will have had traumatic events in your personal life over the last year. I know some have lost loved ones and not been able to celebrate their lives as you would have done if it were not for the pandemic.

I want you during this time of the year to take a bit of time to remember the loved ones we may have lost throughout the year whether colleagues or family.

I want you to spend some time with your family and friends and, if you can’t get together in person, use the technology that you have to hand to bring people together that way.

Those working during Christmas and New Year, a sincere thank you. Please make the time that you can spend with family and friends a special time

Some have said over the past year that policing seems to have lost some of the family ethos, I disagree. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and look, all I can see is the majority of people wanting to come to work, do a decent job and, more importantly, look after each other and long may that continue.

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