Chief constable: Cause for 'serious concern' over Suffolk Covid rates
- Credit: Rachel Edge
As 2020 draws to a close for all of us, no doubt we are beginning to reflect on the past year - which has obviously been like no other.
It has been a difficult year for us all, but there are positives to reflect on, particularly how my officers and staff have worked so hard during the Covid-19 pandemic to help keep our communities safe.
Many colleagues have had to adapt to work from home, and frontline officers and staff have worked hard with ever-changing laws and guidance.
The coronavirus restrictions have impacted heavily on all of us, and my staff have had to enforce the rules whilst continuing to do their daily role.
With so many challenging situations as an organisation, we have come together in a way that none of us would have ever imagined.
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I have witnessed an extraordinary amount of spirit, courage and togetherness from not only those within the constabulary, but many within our communities.
I firmly believe our togetherness resulted in the county of Suffolk having one of the lowest infection rates in the country throughout the past nine months, although it has to be said there is cause for serious concern at the present time.
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I continue to receive numerous emails and letters from members of the public saying how happy they have been with the way the constabulary has responded to the pandemic.
This level of support means a lot to my staff and I, and is a testament to all of my colleagues during this difficult year. I have never been so proud to be a police officer, and most importantly a Suffolk police officer.
With last week’s announcement that Suffolk will remain in Tier 2, it is vitally important we continue to stand together and remain vigilant and strong.
Each and every one of us must understand and follow the guidance.
The vaccination programme has commenced and we are working closely with Public Health England to assess security, we have patrol plans in place, and the sites will receive regular reassurance from police.
We will continue to apply the "four Es" approach - engage, explain, encourage and enforce - and on average we are receiving 120 items of intelligence from the public or partners regarding breaches of Covid legislation per week.
Breach of gatherings accounts for approximately 40% of these. In the words of Robert Peel, “the police are the public and the public are the police”. We must continue to work together like this in 2021.
This month the constabulary launched its annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign.
It is only natural at this time of year that people want to enjoy the festive spirit, and recent research has shown that some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the lockdown.
We will focus on keeping our roads as safe as possible for all road users.
The campaign is a UK-wide operation and sees officers carrying out roadside checks throughout the day and night, as well as intelligence led enforcement activity.
We aim to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers, and to protect other road users from the harm caused by those drink or drug-driving.
Drink-driving will not be tolerated, and I would urge you to provide information about potential offenders to help officers identify who they are in order take appropriate action and prevent serious collisions from occurring.
The only way we can eradicate such behaviour is by working together to ensure people do not drive whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
So, going into my third year as chief constable, I want to reiterate that we in Suffolk Constabulary are all committed and determined to make Suffolk an even safer place than it is now, and I am focussed on my mission to deliver the highest quality policing we can on your behalf.
Finally, again I would like to thank you for the support you give to the constabulary.
No doubt many of us will experience a different festive season this year, but I do wish each and every one of you a very merry and safe Christmas, and a happy new year.