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26 March 2020
Norfolk Police Federation is doing everything possible to keep officers informed about the impact the coronavirus will continue to have on their day-to-day duties and home life.
Federation Chairman Andy Symonds and Secretary Sam Hawkins are liaising with the force and Chief Constable Simon Bailey to deal with the ever-changing picture in Norfolk as the COVID-19 crisis deepens.
They both attend the force Gold and Silver meetings, but know officers and their families have lots of questions about the impact COVID-19 will have on their duties and lives.
A lack of PPE kit and questions around financial support are among those concerns.
Andy and Sam said: “We understand officers will have many questions and serious concerns about the impact this will have on their own personal and professional lives.
“We are doing everything we can as a Federation to make sure all is being done that possibly can be. It’s a fast-moving situation which is changing daily.”
As things stand, there is a shortage of PPE kit for frontline staff dealing with the virus, but Andy and Sam said the force was doing its best to secure more equipment for officers.
They and CC Bailey are also aware and concerned that many officers have partners or dependants who are not working due to self-isolation, or are not being paid.
The Chief is looking at how the Benevolent Fund could be used to help officers and their families who are worried about their income.
Officers are also being asked to prepare for short-notice duty changes, and possible moves to other departments, as already thin resources are tested like never before.
Andy and Sam added: “Please bear with the Resource Management Unit in the coming weeks and months. We are liaising daily with RMU, discussing issues and pragmatic ways in which the problems can be overcome.
“We have been reassured that supervisors and managers have been given the direction to be pragmatic and explore all the possible flexibilities to enable us all to work most effectively where we can.”
Even though the Federation office is now closed to visitors, more information and advice will be available as the situation unfolds.
Andy and Sam said: “We simply do not have all of the answers at this time.
“We are in constant dialogue with the force as we try to address this as best we can. Officers will get more information as advice changes, and we have more answers to questions.
“We are experiencing a large number of phone calls into the office, as well as increased email traffic from officers.
“Please contact us if it is absolutely necessary or you’ve been asked to call by a Fed rep. Please bear with us; we will endeavour to answer your queries as quickly as we can, but expect a delayed response.”
Officers can also email Norfolk@polfed.org, and the Federation will respond as soon as possible. Andy and Sam explained: “If officers’ queries require immediate assistance, and they cannot get through on our office number, please contact the Control Room Inspector for details of the on-call Federation Rep.
“We are working tirelessly with the force and other agencies to ensure officers are as well-informed and prepared for the many challenges that lie ahead. Please look after one another, your families and loved ones.”
Norfolk Police Federation will also be keeping officers informed via its social media channels @NorfolkPolfed on Twitter and Norfolk Police Federation on Facebook.