8 October 2020
John Apter has given a cautious welcome to the Government's announcement of £60m of funding for the policing of Covid restrictions.
But Police Federation of England and Wales' National Chair said it must be accompanied with communications to clarify the rules for the public and an actual uplift in officer numbers.
Mr Apter said: “In this time of crisis when there is so much pressure on policing, any genuine new money which helps ease that pressure can only be a positive thing.
"My question is, what is expected in return? Policing is over stretched, and colleagues are already doing all they can during this pandemic. Any suggestion that this extra money would take away the discretion which permits police officers to do their jobs to the best of their ability would be counterproductive and damaging. Alongside this announcement must be an effective public information campaign. This must make it crystal clear what is expected of the public."
He added that police officers are already targeting those who wilfully breach Covid-19 regulations and this will continue.
The funding follows the earlier announcement by the Prime Minister of an increase in patrols in town centres to ensure that people are complying with restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas. Police will also provide more support to Local Authorities and NHS Test and Trace to enforce self-isolation requirements.
Local councils will use the funding to increase their compliance work and enforcement checks on businesses. This includes Environmental Health officers carrying out inspections, issuing fines and closing premises in the case of non-compliance.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "The vast majority of the British public has come together, followed the law and helped prevent the spread of this virus. But we’ve been clear that, with infections rising, we will not allow a small minority of people to reverse our hard-won progress."
The £60 million funding will be divided equally between police and local councils, with both receiving a £30 million share.