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Hampshire Police Federation

One year on since lockdown: Hampshire officers continue to rise to the challenge

23 March 2021

It’s been a year since the first Covid-19 lockdown, 12 months which presented Hampshire Police Officers with demanding new duties set against the backdrop of trying to keep themselves and their families safe. They’ve faced assaults, been spat at and bitten but continue to rise to the challenge, says Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield.

The past year has presented a significant challenge for police officers who have continued to work throughout, providing a visible presence, dealing with violent offenders and enforcing the new COVID legislation.

Some officers have had to juggle working with looking after young children, others have had the challenge of homeschooling, while others have been caring for vulnerable family members.

The whole time, they have been worried about catching the virus at work, passing it on to a member of the public or taking it home to their families. The many changes in legislation have been a real challenge. With very little notice, officers have to learn new COVID rules, including the many exceptions, and sometimes working in a location where different areas have different rules.

Officers have faced more challenges from the public than usual. Criticised for issuing tickets for breaches, criticised for NOT issuing those tickets.

Over the past year, on average, three officers have been assaulted EVERY DAY, and a significant number of them have been spitting and biting offences. Officers have continued to do their job whilst dealing with all the risks that COVID brings. It has been a tough and stressful time and will continue to be so, even when restrictions ease. It will be a very busy summer with some significant national policing commitments, festivals, pubs, and clubs re-opening during the Euro 21 football tournament.

The majority of officers policing these events will not have received a vaccine, putting not just themselves at risk but also the public and their families. It is extremely frustrating that the Government does not recognise the unique role police officers have and continue to carry out during this pandemic. I am extremely proud of my colleagues who have put their job first in order to protect the public and keep the pandemic under control.