18 November 2020
Officers are being reminded to wear PPE wherever and whenever they can to keep themselves and the public safe from COVID out on the frontline.
Wiltshire Police Federation says its primary concern in Lockdown Two is ensuring officers are doing everything they can to protect themselves from the virus while enuring the public adhere to the regulations.
So far, Wiltshire residents have mostly abided by the curb on their liberties, Federation Chair Mark Andrews said, but officers will enforce the rules if they need to.
“We still have the same stance as we’ve always had, that we will try to engage with people and educate them why they should be following the government guidelines, and hopefully they listen to us,” he said.
“They have done in the past, they have been quite compliant, and we’re hoping that continues. But we’re not afraid to enforce it if we need to and we have demonstrated that.
“My concern at the moment is ensuring that our officers, when they’re out and about, are safe and they have sufficient protective equipment to maintain that safety when dealing with the public, not only for the officer’s safety but also the safety of those we have contact with.”
“We have certain guidelines that we issue to our officers when they are not able to social distance,” Mark added.
“They should wear their surgical masks, aprons, gloves to ensure that they protect them themselves also protect the public.
“So I don’t want the public being alarmed when they see their officers in that protective equipment. It’s just to maintain safety and to follow government guidelines.”
Officers having to self-isolate is having an impact on resources, Mark said, but that work was going on to try and ensure all officers are getting the support they need.
“We just have to get on with it,” he said.
“We have access to the Government’s Track and Trace app like everybody else, and I would encourage police officers to download that app for their safety and the safety of their families.
“The issue that we are finding now is that that app is beginning to go off which means that officers are having to self-isolate, meaning we are losing quite a few officers now from the frontline which puts added pressure on those officers who are not being told to do so, and obviously that work increases and puts stress and anxiety on those officers.
“So we’re trying to work with everybody at the moment to see how we can best maintain resources on the frontline and hopefully working together we’ll get that done.”