90 days from today is Fri, 22 December 2023

Surrey Police Federation

A Message to police officers from Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

30 March 2020

To our outstanding police officers,

Our country is facing an unprecedented national emergency, and you are at the heart of our urgent response.

I know what a truly remarkable job you already do each and every day. You run towards danger to keep us safe, devoting yourself to duty and making enormous sacrifices to protect the public. Your courage, compassion and professionalism are a shining example to us all.

This has never been more true than it is today. Britain is facing an extraordinary new challenge in Covid-19 and – with our other emergency services – you are forming the backbone of our nation’s response.

You are the frontline of our fightback against this disease, and the work you are doing to encourage social distancing is saving countless lives. Once again you are selflessly exposing yourself to risk to protect the public you serve. For that you have this Home Secretary’s, this Government’s, and this country’s endless pride, gratitude and thanks.

This is a grave and unparalleled situation and your role could not be more critical. The Prime Minister has been clear that people need to stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. For this to be effective we need you to remain on our streets, to enforce the life-saving new rules and to carry on with your vital day job.

I know we are asking a great deal. You are working harder than ever in these difficult times, and I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge you are facing. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect you and give you what you need to do your truly incredible job.

From today, you will have new powers to enforce the emergency rules we have put in place. This country has a proud history of policing by consent and I know you will continue to work with the public and use your common sense and discretion. But you will also now have the powers you need to act when people do not respond.

I do not ask this of you lightly; enforcing these rules will give you yet more to do. Police numbers will undoubtedly be hit by this pandemic. There will be difficult times ahead, but I will be with you every step of the way.

I refuse to leave you exposed, so I am prioritising the provision of the protective equipment you need. In addition, I am taking urgent action to provide the boots on the ground that you need right now to protect the public you serve.

I am delighted that we have already recruited around 1,500 additional officers since pledging an extra 20,000, and we are now acting at every level to provide an immediate boost to your numbers.

More special constables will be drafted in and we are leading by example by releasing all those employed by the civil service where not in essential roles. We are relaxing tax and pension rules to make it easier for retired officers to return and serve, and I have asked the Security Industry Authority to explore what more they can do to encourage the private sector to support you.

Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to protect and support you, and I am asking the British people to do the same.

Your country has never needed you more. We are asking a great deal, but I have seen the amazing work you do, and I have absolutely no doubt that you can deliver.

Thank you all, on behalf of your country, our citizens and every single person who you are keeping safe.


Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

Home Secretary