17 May 2021
As seen in this weekend's Daily Express, National Chair John Apter has written an emotional open letter to police colleagues and members of the public, reflecting on a challenging year of policing during a pandemic.
"As we start the journey out of lockdown, accepting that we still have some way to go, I want to take this opportunity to thank the public who have been incredibly supportive of policing during this most extraordinary time. This has been a very difficult time for many – losing loved ones, losing jobs, and having restrictions placed on us which would have been unimaginable before this pandemic.
"We have all done our best during these past 15 months and collectively our goal has been to save lives and stop the spread of this deadly virus. Police officers have been put in an incredibly difficult position, policing the ever-changing Covid-19 rules and legislation. Without your support and understanding, their job would have been impossible.
"You will have seen a style of policing which has been alien to you. This is also alien to my colleagues. We did not join policing to police in the way we’ve had to. But this has been necessary to protect each other and save lives.
"We didn’t just enforce during the pandemic. At the height of the virus, when hundreds of lives were lost every single day, police were standing alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals, assisting with patients in their beds. We were driving ambulances, working in makeshift mortuaries; doing much more than you might imagine.
"Policing is a vocation. We do what we do because we care. That’s why, as we come out of lockdown, it’s important that we maintain our relationship with the public and rebuild it where it’s needed.
"I am proud to be a police officer; and I am proud to be the National Chair of the Police Federation, representing 130,000 police officers across England and Wales. To those officers, you should be incredibly proud. I know that policing this pandemic has been tough for you, but also for your families. I want to personally thank you, and I know most of the public feel this way.
"You have been vilified by some media and criticised by others, for simply doing your job. Never forget, the vast majority of the public support you and what you do, although I accept it may not always feel like it.
"And to you, the public, that silent majority who I know support my colleagues, thank you."