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Gwent Police Federation

'Look after yourself in this heat' says chair

26 June 2024

Gwent Police Federation chair Matthew Candy says the hot weather can be ‘a nightmare’ for officers as he encouraged them to look after themselves in the sun.

Matthew said the dark uniform and personal protective equipment make it difficult for frontline officers to stay cool.

He said: “We’re experiencing the hottest spell of the year and while it’s great for a lot of people, it can be a nightmare for frontline officers.

“Staying cool can be tough when you’re on patrol with heavy body armour and dark uniform.

“Our message to members is to make sure you stay hydrated. Take plenty of water with you on shifts. If you’re at a scene or on patrol then wear a hat and sunscreen.

Cool down

“And when you’re back at the station, take of your stab vests to cool down.”

Matthew added: “And we’d ask the Force, which has a health and safety responsibility as our employer, to do what it can to make working conditions as safe and comfortable as possible.

“So providing cool drinking water, means to call offices and buildings, and changing shift patterns so non-essential physical exertion isn’t done during the hottest part of the day.”

Matthew’s comments come as the UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office issued a yellow heat health alert for most of England, with temperatures in Suffolk expected to top 28C today.

Risk to health

The alert indicates that the heat could pose a risk to health, particularly those who are vulnerable.

Matthew encouraged the public to be understanding if they see officers taking a break or grabbing some refreshments.

“The nature of the job means that police officers don’t get regular breaks and sometimes have to grab refreshments when they can,” he said.

“They’re not robots and need to stay hydrated and keep their energy levels up so they’re ready to go to the next call.

“The vast majority of people understand that but a small minority don’t think officers should be able to have a rest break in public.

“I think we need a bit of a culture change which sees public breaks as not only acceptable, but the norm.”

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