President Paul Griffiths speaks about the transition as new police powers are announced to tackle Coronavirus
“The pace and scale of change as we battle the Covid-19 emergency has been incredible in the last week.
We have seen figures on confirmed cases and tragic deaths that none of us would have imagined, and that continues to reflect the magnitude of the global crisis we find ourselves in.
One of the quickest changes we have seen, has been the passing of the Health Protection Regulations 2020, which includes new powers for police to take enforcement action against people who do not comply with the Government’s social distancing guidance.The speed with which these powers have had to be created mean that there has been little adjustment period for the police, or the public, and we have seen some confusion as they start to be used. This was probably unavoidable with the pace of introduction. The national response is moving at a rate that many of us have never seen in our lifetime, with the sole purpose of protecting our country and saving lives.
That means we must all help.
My plea to the public would be to trust your police. Officers have no desire to use enforcement powers if they don’t need to. We have a privileged, positive relationship with the public whereby we police by consent.
We have no intention to change this.
Policing teams across the country are applying ‘common sense’ to the use of the powers they have been given. If they see someone out and about, and have cause to speak to them, they will want to talk. They will explain why social distancing measures are in place and will always try and encourage people to take the safest course of action, which will be to stay at home as much as possible.
On the rare occasion where people refuse to follow the guidelines, enforcement powers will be used, but this will be a last resort.
We must remember that every police officer, every nurse, every paramedic and every hospital consultant, is also a member of the public. They are as vulnerable to catching Covid-19 as anyone else, but they are committed to fighting this battle on behalf of the public.
We’re in this together.
New powers for police don’t mean we want to be more powerful. They mean we want to make this work, so on behalf of our Association and the wider workforce, I want to thank everyone who has supported their frontline workers in the country’s efforts so far and ask that we continue to show the togetherness and community spirit to help us get through this.”