Mixed messaging from the Government on the enforcement of lockdown rules has created a “no-win” situation for British police, according to John Apter, the Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales. Writing in the Telegraph, John points to research from last month which showed “just one in 10 police officers in England and Wales thought the police powers previously introduced to manage the Covid crisis were clear”.
We have repeatedly called on the English and Welsh Governments to stop issuing mixed messages about Covid regulations to avoid further confusion when lockdown measures are finally lifted. We warned the Prime Minister not to repeat the lack of clarity over last year’s pandemic measures before he formally announced his “route map” out of lockdown.
Fair-minded, reasonable members of the public – and I know that is the majority – will agree my colleagues have faced an almost impossible task during the pandemic. At Clapham Common, or during the Black Lives Matters demonstrations, anti-lockdown or the many other protests during the pandemic, they have been damned by some when they intervene, and equally damned by others when they do not.
Most members of the public continue to offer my colleagues incredible and much welcome support. But the role of policing the lockdown has become a no-win situation for front line police officers who are simply trying to do their best.
Does the police service sometimes get things wrong? Of course it does. Policing is complex and difficult and police officers often have to make split second decisions in very challenging circumstances. Do individual officers sometimes let their force and their colleagues down? Yes, just as individual politicians, journalists, doctors, teachers, footballers, you name it … there will always be people who do not meet the standards required of them.
But just as the vast majority of the public are fair and reasonable, so too the overwhelming majority of police officers are dedicated, competent public servants who take their responsibilities to their communities incredibly seriously. …
We know that good policing is policing by consent. It is why we listen to criticism, and why we are constantly striving to improve what we do. We strive for clarity in rules and restrictions, because in building that consent, we are often the people having to explain what they are. We strive for understanding of the public, because without it, we cannot properly play our role in keeping them safe.
Worth reading in full.
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