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GMP Federation

Prioritise police welfare as loosening of covid restrictions set to bring tsunami of demand

12 April 2021

Police welfare must be prioritised as the service faces a “tsunami of demand” with the loosening of Covid restrictions, the Chair of Greater Manchester Police Federation has said.

Stu Berry warned that the Government and the public must “manage their expectations” around how much they expect the police to do - and called for greater support of officers who have seen the UK through a very difficult time.

He said: “Demand, I foresee, will increase significantly, both in terms of business-as-usual crime, but also public events and public disorder throughout the summer. And we all need to be prepared for that. I think it’s time for not only our new chief constable but all chief constables to consider the welfare impact it will have on the traditional uniformed, frontline resources.”

Officers are looking forward to life getting back to normal, but are also “very apprehensive” about what future months will bring, Stu said. “They are aware of this tsunami of demand that is coming their way. All leaders need to work together to mitigate that demand.”

Stu called for greater support of police officers, after they were subjected to criticism for their actions at protests across the country.

He added: “We are seeing some extremely trying times where police officers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and I would urge caution from all senior leaders in the choice of language they use when shown captions of videos that may be tailored or geared towards showing a particular picture of police, and I would urge them to wait for a process of investigation before making comment. This does have a significant impact on the morale of officers.

“As the country unlocks, there will be more daytime drinking, more night-time demands and the associated anti-social behaviour, so more robust policing will be necessary. There will be more protests. Everyone has the right to protest within a democracy but I am concerned that police officers, especially by the media, have been put in a poor light too quickly and the recent HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services report that came out following public order events in London clearly shows that. I call for all senior leaders to support the workforce and not jump to early conclusions or make rash statements before due diligence has been completed.

“I’d call for all leaders, whether locally, nationally, whether they are police officers or elected politicians, to support the police officers that have done an excellent job throughout this pandemic and rubbishing the good name of those officers and the actions they’re taking under extremely difficult circumstances is extremely disappointing. They should know better.”

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