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Wiltshire Police Federation

Officers’ Can-Do Attitude Praised After Pandemic Report

21 April 2021

The independent inspectorate of policing has commended police officers, staff and volunteers for their “exceptional dedication and commitment” to keeping people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Services (HMICFRS) says the police service responded with “dedication and commitment” to the challenge of policing the pandemic.

Inspectors said: “Policing demonstrated its capacity for responding in an emergency.” They added that officers took “immediate and decisive” action to respond to the extreme circumstances of the pandemic.

Inspectors found that the fast-paced introduction and subsequent changes to new legislation affected some forces’ ability to produce timely and clear guidance for police officers and staff, which created difficulties for officers on the frontline.

The inspectorate acknowledged the criticism some forces faced for their interpretation of lockdown restrictions, stating they were “assured that police forces had learnt from these instances” and in general “did well” to maintain public trust.

Mark Andrews, Chairman of Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “It is great news the excellent can-do attitude of Wiltshire Police was recognised by the HMICFRS in their review. They said we provided exceptional service to our communities during the pandemic.

“The whole of the Federation in Wiltshire have worked with our senior leaders to ensure our officers had the right training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to police with confidence.

“Their safety has been paramount in all our representations as we recognised the concerns of officers who feared not only catching the virus themselves but taking it home to their loved ones.

“Although, we had initial difficulties getting the quantity of PPE we needed, we overcame this by working across our policing region and in partnership with our local businesses. This community spirit was essential and a big thank you goes out to all those who help keep our officers safe.

“There are lessons to be learned in relation to how we reacted to the ever-changing legislation, but our officers should be proud of the way they approached these challenges and how they engaged with the public to ensure they were aware of rules before going down the enforcement route.

“Wiltshire may be a small force but the way we have performed shows we punch well above our weight.”

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr, commented: “Overall, the police rose to the challenge with dedication and commitment by taking immediate and decisive action to keep people safe and prevent crime, while also learning lessons from the rare occasions that they got it wrong.”

The HMICFRS report is based on an inspection of policing between March and November 2020. See it in full here: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/news/news-feed/police-generally-responded-well-to-exceptional-circumstances-of-pandemic/