MAKING sure members’ welfare is maintained as the nation moves into more relaxed lockdown restrictions is still crucial to Hampshire Police Federation.
It says the green shoots of returning to some semblance of normality are beginning to appear but that officers still need support, particularly those with health conditions or those who children may be going back to school shortly.
Federation Chairman Alex Charge says he and the Federation team are working closely with the force to make sure officers get the help they need.
“We’re still really linked in with the Gold groups and the Silver groups,” he said.
“We’re helping out now with the return to normality, the step back from lockdown, and making sure members who have got health conditions are appropriately supported back to work.
“As children go back to school, we need to think about what that looks like for officers and partners and whether they have got sufficient childcare to accommodate it.”
Part of that support is ironing out with the force crewing levels and managing social distancing as police stations begin to fill up with returning officers.
“We are working with the force around PPE for different situations and entering into conversations around the crewing state with officers and different roles as they come back with social distancing,” Alex said.
“And also our police control room as that moves back from the reduced capacity they’ve had in terms of the talk groups due to social distancing and how they manage to go back up to capacity and still keep everyone safe.”
It’s a timely conversation as demand on policing is beginning to intensify as more people take to the roads for work and to enjoy the spell of warm weather, even though social distancing regulations are likely to be in place for some time to come.
“Demand has not returned to where it was, but it’s not much below that,” Alex said.
“As lockdown has eased, there’s been a slow and gradual increase back to more business as usual.
“Feedback we’ve had [from officers] is that the force has dealt with it [the virus] well and we’ve certainly had some contacts around the support we’ve given officers.
“I think it’s still a watching brief because the virus has not gone away and I think social distancing measures are going to be with us for the next good 12 months.
“Then it’s how we do policing safely within that environment and as we move back to things like shops being open.
“People are much more accustomed to it, but I don’t think they’re that blasé to say it’s not a risk anymore.”