HAMPSHIRE Police officers are being encouraged to rest and recuperate while they can – because the challenges posed by COVID-19 could change at any moment.
Coronavirus and the restrictions it has imposed has changed policing in the county, Hampshire Police Federation has said.
Business-as-usual demand, such as policing Hampshire’s night-time economy, has dropped since lockdown restrictions came into force.
However, Federation Chairman Alex Charge says self-isolation has led to higher domestic tensions with people being kept cooped up in their homes more than usual.
He said: “Demand has clearly dropped, as you’d expect. Lots of shops are shut; nightclubs are shut, pubs are closed. So the usual demand isn’t there. However, people are cooped up in their houses, so the demand of domestics between families has gone up.
“I think people have a new-found respect for teachers, and we are seeing an increase in those sort of incidents where people aren’t getting on with their children or their children are potentially a little more challenging.”
With the COVID-19 picture changing almost by the hour Alex said it is critical that officers rest and recuperate while they can, especially as more of their colleagues are likely to be off work recovering from the disease or self-isolating as the pandemic continues.
He explained; “I would encourage that while demand is low and our resources are at a decent level, that people are allowed to rest and recuperate, and they do take that time to rest.
“It’s essential to have that time away from police work, away from phones, away from laptops, away from making decisions – take some time out because this is only going to get more challenging.
“As people become unwell, there are going to be fewer police officers at work.
“At the moment the public is onside, but the pandemic will be going on a long time, and things like domestic incidents are going to go up.
“People will get bored, families are not going to get on, and that will probably coincide with when our officer numbers are at their least.
“So, I’d encourage people to rest while they’ve got the opportunity.”