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Police Fed Chair on challenges faced by officers

The Chair of Cheshire's Police Federation says changes to lockdown rules are bringing new challenges.

Jamie Thompson says clarity is needed for both the public and officers.

He said: "I think what the police need is some crystal clear guidance as to what is expected from the public. Unless we have that guidance how can we explain to people and encourage them to stick to the rules and we are lacking that at the moment.

"The message changed from 'Stay at Home' to 'Stay Alert' and people are leaving their homes now and going further afield. It makes it very, very difficult to have that conversations with those individuals about what is lawful and what isn't.

"Officers are still out protecting communities still responding to crime and protecting the public, but they've risen to the challenge really, really well.

"They have been really positive and gone out and grasped it with both hands and have really faced those challenges head on.

"I would 95 per cent of the public have been absolutely fantastic, they have stuck to the guidelines and where they haven't our officers have been explaining to them and encouraging them to stick to the guidelines. Enforcement is very much a last option for the police, sadly it is one that we have to use at times, but certainly those we have explained, encouraged and given advise, most have heeded that and changed their behaviour.

"I am engaging with our senior leaders in Cheshire on a daily basis to try and get that clear messaging out, nationally the Federation have been very, very clear with the Home Office and Government, we need that support and guidance otherwise we are just trying to do our job with one arm up our back.

"The police are the public and we are no different to anyone else, we have had a number of officers who have been sick themselves, who have family members who have been showing symptoms and have had to go off and self-isolate. We have had a number of officers who have had to shield themselves through pre-existing conditions or same with family members. We have even had officers who have had to move out of their family homes to protect others just so they could continue to come into work and I find that absolutely incredible. It just goes to show the sort of spirit we have in the police.

"We also have some difference with the legislation here in England compared to Wales which has caused us some difficulties with being on the border because some of our officers live in Wales. We have had caring issues where some schools have gone back and some haven't and because the two pieces of legislation are slightly different and Wales are doing different things to England it can lead to some difficulties for our officers who live across the border.

"I think we are facing a different challenge come the next Bank Holiday, obviously Friday (VE Day) was an extremely busy day for Cheshire police. Now, we got a change in the rules where people can move around , people are being encouraged to leave the house more and exercise and they can drive up and down England if they wish to do so, I think the next Bank Holiday, weather dependent could be a real challenge for the police. 

On a different note, the Federation have been sending out food packages to give a helping hand to officers, staff and people who work within the police or retired from the force who are finding things difficult at the moment.

Jamie commented: "We have got officers who have moved out of the family homes so they continue working so we have tried to support these individuals with just a small food package with some essentials in there just to try and get them through the week. It's not going to change their lives but its just a little something to say look, we are thinking of you at this difficult time, we want to support you and we want to get you back in the workplace as soon as its safe to do so.

"We have had people in tears who have just been so overwhelmed with the fact that we as a Federation have gone out there and dropped something on their doorstep. It's not going to change their lives but its the fact that we have gone out and provided just some essentials just to get them through the week. We have officers whose family members children are shielding and they can't go out for what ever reason and for us just to take a box of food and some toiletries round to them has really made a difference for them."

POLICE FED

(Picture - Cheshire Police Federation)

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