Hampshire officers feeling positive as lockdown lifts – but fear storms are on the horizon

HAMPSHIRE Police officers are feeling positive as life gets back to normal – but storm clouds are on the horizon as rookie officers face new challenges.

Zoë Wakefield, Federation Chair, said that the morale has lifted with lockdown restrictions and that officers are feeling positive and are thankfully largely healthy. Some – if still not all – Hampshire Police officers have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

She has been looking back over how police officers have been coping with the lockdown and recent unlocking: “People are feeling that they are getting back to normal. We’ve had a good number of officers who have had their vaccinations, which really helps, and very few officers now have the virus. We – touch wood – haven’t had any hospitalisations for a long, long time.

“But there’s going to be a real strain coming up to the summer because we are very under-resourced. Even though we’ve got all these new student officers coming through, they’re not independent. If you look at our numbers plus the student officers then we’re kind of above establishment, but when you take those that are still being trained off that number we’re well below.”

Police officers are facing a tough summer, with the G7 summit in Cornwall and the Euros to contend with. And new-in-service bobbies are facing the demands of the keeping likely-to-be boozy revellers safe for the first time.

The force is preparing for this, sending out briefing documents and preparing officers for potential trouble. Sergeants and inspectors are being encouraged to deploy people to the appropriate jobs and to keep a close eye on their teams.

Zoë added: “Any officer that’s got less than 18 months service has never policed a night-time econ-omy, so we’ve got concerns about the impact on them. You could have two officers with less than 18 months’ service being double-crewed together and going to a pub kicking out, a nightclub kicking out, and they’ll have never been in that situation before.

“So normally you’d go though all that whilst you’re being tutored but because everything’s been shut they’ve never have experienced that. We’re saying it’s a very different type of policing and you have to handle it in a different way to, for example, violence and confrontation at a domestic.”

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