19 May 2023
National Board member and Devon and Cornwall Sergeant Sue Honeywill recently visited her local police station in Bodmin to speak to members about the pressures of the job and get involved with frontline duties after being off for a period of time recovering from an injury sustained on shift.
Today I awoke early before my alarm at 05:45 hours. I am both excited and nervous, as it’s been over 18 months since I have put my uniform on.
But what better way to understand the pressure faced by our frontline officers then to spend the day with my operational colleagues.
I needn’t have worried, as I was instantly met with the warmest of welcomes from some familiar faces, but also some new colleagues who have more recently joined the team.
The night turn staff were also still on duty, but busy working away to clear their paperwork from the previous evening - Eventually leaving just after 9am [due off at 7am).
It was clear it was going to be a busy day for a number of teams, with a special operation taking place within the traffic department. There were two CID officers heading off to interview a suspect in prison, an AVR busy with taskings, and the Neighbourhood Team busy with both catching up on paperwork, meetings, and planning to get out on foot patrol - if the workload allowed.
The response team also had a number of incidents to catch up on from the previous night but were prioritising a missing person enquiry that had come in that morning.
I am sure like many stations and forces across the country, Bodmin is no different, but the team have recently dealt with a number of traumatic incidents, notwithstanding a number of tragic fatal road collisions and a murder enquiry. But the team’s spirit appeared to remain high, which was really reassuring.
Officers said they had received good support, including a wellbeing day organised last week to check in with staff. No doubt this has helped with lifting morale at the station.
The station was buzzing with officers, and I can say from previous experience this is not always the case, as some officers were also keen to highlight.
National Federation duties meant I had to dip out of operational policing for a couple of hours to chair an online Women’s Seminar for our fed reps across the country but soon back where cakes were on offer by midday and an opportunity to catch up with colleagues about their morning. There was also a photo opportunity, which was met with some resistance, but not from the chief who was happy to join his team, which was really welcomed.
There has been an investment in officer wellbeing, but teams still struggle as they explained demand remains high and the impact of fatigue, especially when they are working over their allocated shifts times.
However, the team spirit and camaraderie was palpable and it was a privilege to spend the day with the team at Bodmin. They remained candid about the work pressures, but also working together to get the job done to the highest of standards.
A special thanks to the ‘No Excuses Team’ for allowing me to double crew with them for the afternoon.
They are a dedicated road safety team who work around the clock to tackle the fatal five, (careless driving, drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone and speeding.)
Go give them a follow:
Twitter - @DC_NoExcuse
Facebook - www.facebook.com/BodminPolice