31 March 2021
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has welcomed the easing of lockdown but says that police officers must be given very clear guidance to enable them to continue to police the pandemic effectively.
He said officers had found themselves ‘between a rock and a hard place’ over the last 12 months, criticised at times for being too tough on the public and at others for being too lenient.
“I think lockdown fatigue was really starting to set in with everyone,” says Tony, “So with yesterday seeing the first stage of the easing of lockdown, there is obviously a certain sense of relief and people are naturally wanting to start moving towards a more normal way of life.
“But, we all have to be cautious and we all have to abide by the lockdown regulations that are in place. Police officers will once again be on the frontline, trying to work with the public and uphold the current guidelines but to do that we need very clear guidance from the Government and sadly that has been lacking at times.”
Lockdown easing began in England yesterday and changes to guidance include:
John Apter, the national Federation chair, appeared on Good Morning Britain and Sky News on Monday.
He said: “There are obviously differences between the English rules and those from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, so there is some confusion and we’re used to that. The problem is that this causes frustrations and my colleagues bear the brunt of that out on the streets.
“There’s been an awful lot of confusion about what’s happening, and that is why I am calling on the Prime Minister and the devolved Governments to be crystal clear on the guidance.”
John also repeated his call for police officers and other frontline workers to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine, saying: “We have some large scale events coming up in the coming months where hundreds, if not thousands, of police officers will be deployed around the country and yet none of them are being prioritised for the vaccine. It’s a real betrayal by the Government.”