Police chief ‘proud’ of how Suffolk officers have handled coronavirus crisis
- Credit: Archant
In these unprecedented times, I would firstly like to express my huge gratitude to the communities of Suffolk for all your kindness and support as the constabulary continues to play its part in the fight against coronavirus.
In Suffolk, our neighbourhood policing model has been, I believe, the way we have engaged successfully with you to ensure we have not had to enforce too often the regulations set out by government.
It is important at this time that you see we continue to carry on policing as normal.
Proactively, we have had some real successes against those who still wish to commit crime during this national crisis.
Equally, it has been great to see the number of initiatives officers have come up with to support communities while we are currently living such different lives.
These include Inspector Andy Martin, who produced a video message for a little lad who has had to cancel his fifth birthday celebrations and wants to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and become a police officer.
Officers have also distributed Easter eggs to children who have taken part in the “StayHomeSaveLives” NHS campaign, while our community engagement officers have been doing livestreams on Facebook.
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Other staff have collected money to support NHS colleagues and our safeguarding units have arranged Easter egg painting competitions.
Our police station noticeboards around the county are now full of thank you notes from schoolchildren.
There have been lots of occasions when cards have been left on police vehicles and a number of donations of small gifts to teams whilst they have been out and about.
I really have been overwhelmed with the number of messages of thanks and appreciation received, not only by way of letters and emails but also face-to-face and on social media, from adults, children, businesses and other organisations as the county pulls together.
Other examples of this include donations of Easter eggs for officers to give out to children and gifts from Town Pastors.
All these gestures are very much appreciated and keep morale high throughout the force. They put smiles on our face so thank you to everyone.
As an organisation, we have had to adapt to change. I am really proud of the way my colleagues have responded.
Probably like many other organisations, the constabulary had concerns about our ability to deliver policing during the current crisis.
However, our sickness levels have been really low and staff have been totally committed wanting to return to work at the earliest opportunity.
We need to protect our staff in order to protect you, and we therefore have ensured as many non-operational staff as possible are working from home.
We have provided them with the necessary equipment and changed our processes so we can continue with business as usual.
However, there has been a personal impact for some of my staff, with some officers working away from home in order to protect their families while ensuring they can continue with operational activities.
Our Special Constabulary have also been fantastic in supporting us, many of whom have been furloughed in their main job. Despite this, they have committed to working duties with the constabulary.
All of this demonstrates such huge commitment to our mission of keeping you safe.
I must also mention those who work with us outside of the policing family including contractors, partner agencies and schools who have helped us to continue delivering our mission
I have been impressed with the way we have policed the government’s restrictions.
We have taken a balanced and proportionate approach with those people who have not followed the instructions. We have engaged with those breaking the rules, given advice and, as a last resort, handed out fines.
As of April 13, we had handed out 95 fines across the county.
Sadly, there have been some incidents of offenders coughing at or spitting in the face of officers. I am appalled at this behaviour which can have a huge impact on officers and their families, and it will not be tolerated.
I would like to personally pay tribute to all my staff, emergency workers in other sectors, all NHS staff and key frontline workers for their invaluable work in helping to help keep Suffolk going during these difficult times.
It has been great to see Suffolk officers stood alongside fire and rescue and ambulance colleagues at the Suffolk hospitals on Thursday nights clapping for the carers.
Finally, please do look at our website and Facebook site for help and further information.
Just because you are in isolation, don’t feel isolated. We are here for you.