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Hampshire Police Federation

Officers Praised For Facing 'Unique Challenges' During Pandemic

20 April 2021

The independent inspectorate of policing has commended police officers, staff and volunteers for their “exceptional dedication and commitment” to keeping people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Services (HMICFRS) says the police service responded with “dedication and commitment” to the challenge of policing the pandemic.

Inspectors said: “Policing demonstrated its capacity for responding in an emergency.” They added that officers took “immediate and decisive” action to respond to the extreme circumstances of the pandemic.

Inspectors found that the fast-paced introduction and subsequent changes to new legislation affected some forces’ ability to produce timely and clear guidance for police officers and staff, which created difficulties for officers on the frontline.

The inspectorate acknowledged the criticism some forces faced for their interpretation of lockdown restrictions, stating they were “assured that police forces had learnt from these instances” and in general “did well” to maintain public trust.

Zoe Wakefield, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “It is really good to see that this report recognises the unique challenges police officers have faced during the pandemic. Officers have felt that they will be criticised whatever decision they make.

“I would have liked to have seen some recognition for the increased risk that officers put themselves at every day, the risk of catching the virus themselves, passing it onto a member of the public or a member of their family.

“Assaults on officers, particularly by spitting and biting, have increased during the pandemic yet officers have continued to confront violent offenders, helping to keep the public safe.”

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr, commented: “Overall, the police rose to the challenge with dedication and commitment by taking immediate and decisive action to keep people safe and prevent crime, while also learning lessons from the rare occasions that they got it wrong.”

The HMICFRS report is based on an inspection of policing between March and November 2020. See it in full here: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/news/news-feed/police-generally-responded-well-to-exceptional-circumstances-of-pandemic/