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15 May 2020
Police officers have been thanked for protecting the public through the Covid crisis by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In a letter to the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), received earlier today, Prince William wrote: "I am writing to convey Catherine and my personal thanks for the truly remarkable work that the Police Forces of the United Kingdom are doing, day in day out, to keep us all safe and keep the country going during these extraordinarily difficult times.
"The willingness of emergency service personnel to work tirelessly to protect the interests of others is a source of tremendous pride for this country. Having spent the last few weeks speaking with members of the emergency responder community, I have heard first-hand about the challenges they are facing at the moment, but I have also been struck by their remarkable commitment and ‘can do’ attitude at a time like this."
The Duke referred to his own service with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, noting that "even in normal times, emergency responders encounter distressing events on an all too frequent basis".
He added: "Each day, they put not only their physical health but also their mental health at risk to help others. So in this challenging and unsettling period, it seems more important than ever for those on the frontline to know where they can turn to for information and support.
"I know you take the wellbeing of your staff extremely seriously and I have heard about the helpful services provided internally to your teams, such as occupational health support and employee assistance schemes - all of which will be of vital importance as you support your staff through the weeks and months ahead."
The Duke mentioned Our Frontline, which is a partnership involving The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK. It brings together a package of support from those leading mental health charities working in partnership with Police Care UK to offers confidential support.
The Duke continued: "We hope this service will complement existing provision and make a real difference in supporting the mental wellbeing of those on the frontline. In the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and all your colleagues for your work, your determination and your courage. The country owes you all an enormous debt of gratitude."
PFEW's National Chair, John Apter, replied to the Duke and Duchess to thank them and noted that policing is experiencing extraordinary times.
He said: "Policing during the Covid-19 pandemic is something none of us have experienced before, but my colleagues have worked tirelessly to keep communities safe and alleviate the burden on the NHS. I am incredibly proud of those 120,000 police officers we represent across England and Wales who have selflessly risen to this challenge, despite their own family worries and concerns.
"Your letter refers to the need for officers to take care of their mental health, as well as their physical wellbeing. This is something that we take extremely seriously and my Federation colleagues across the 43 police forces in England and Wales are also on hand to help, support and guide officers. In this time of crisis, please do not underestimate just how much your kind words will mean to police officers across the country. On their behalf, thank you for recognising their dedication, bravery and commitment."
Earlier this week, the Federation also received a letter to officers from the Home Secretary.