'We're in for a busy summer' - police urged to brace for months ahead
- Credit: Jason Bye
Frontline officers will be dealing with an unprecedented number of challenges over the coming months as lockdown restrictions are lifted, the county's police federation has warned.
The return of the night-time economy and the rearranged European Championships alongside the easing of coronavirus restrictions will mean a hectic summer for officers, Darren Harris, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said.
“The reality is that we’re in for a really busy summer, all the way through into autumn and winter,” he said.
“We’re reopening up. The night-time economy is going to start up again.
"I think there’s pent-up energy in the hospitality business, and they’re ready to go for it. I think the customers are as well and that is invariably going to cause us demand when we’ve got the Euros etc.
"There is a real pinch on resourcing. At the end of a pandemic, we don’t get to put our feet up. Business carries on and increases the demands on us."
Mr Harris also urged officers to take some time off ahead of the busy coming months to "recuperate, regenerate, and switch off".
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“We’ve got annual leave bans in place for the force to be able to cope with the demand on us, and I think yet again the frontline cops, all of my members, will be affected by it because such are the demands on them that we’re going to be calling on everyone,” he added.
“My advice to officers is to take your leave, get the time away from work.
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“You may not be using your annual summer leave as you used to in previous years, but you need a break with the family and with your loved ones, and away from the workplace to recuperate, regenerate, and switch off.
“There’s a lot of police officers that haven’t been able to do it over the last year or haven’t wanted to do it, but please do take that annual leave.”
Mental health support for officers will also be vital as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Mr Harris added.
“It’s unknown territory. We’ve never unlocked like this before, and yet again, we’re at the forefront of it, we’re going to have to adapt, we’re going to have to overcome it and deal with it, and I think that the mental health message is going to be critical, that support is going to be key," he said.
“The organisation needs to be offering that support, but also I think we’re going to be using the Defence Medical Welfare Service probably a lot more than we have.
“We’re well aware of it as representatives, and we’re going to start referring a lot of people into it that we haven’t done previously, I think.”