No ‘magic box of extra officers’ to deal with new Covid-19 expectations

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has warned there is no “magic box of extra officers” to cope with the extra demands placed on the police as tougher Covid-19 restrictions come into force.

Sep 29, 2020
By Paul Jacques
John Apter

From yesterday (September 28), police will be expected to take intelligence-led action against individuals who test positive for the virus and fail to self-isolate. This follows the Government announcement last Thursday that established a 10pm curfew for bars, pubs and restaurants in England.

PFEW national chair John Apter said: “As new restrictions come into effect, policing will be forced to prioritise. With ever growing demand and increasing pressures there will simply not be enough police officers to do everything expected of them.

“There is no magic box of extra officers waiting to be opened, and undoubtedly policing will struggle with this increased demand.”

He added: “My colleagues are doing the best they can to keep the public safe from the virus while juggling 999 calls, working longer hours and seeing rest days cancelled. Where they can we need local authorities, the Health and Safety Executive and other major agencies to step up to the plate and lessen the strain on policing.

“The vast majority of people comply with restrictions placed on them. These restrictions affect us all, and to keep each other as safe as possible I hope the public will carry on doing the right thing to protect citizens and minimise the spread of the virus.”

The chair of Kent Police Federation has already reacted angrily to government plans for the police to enforce a new permit system for lorries entering Kent post-Brexit that will place unnecessary “extra demand” on officers.

Neil Mennie said day-to-day policing cannot be “stored in a convenient cupboard” while officers are called on to police the Covid-19 crisis and Brexit.

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