Don’t forget police officers are people just like you - Chief Inspector Scott Richardson

This time usually sees us all looking forward to the coming year and making plans. However, what we are faced with is the continuing threat from Covid-19 and note-0the more virulent strain.
Chief Inspector Scott Richardson is area commander for South West EdinburghChief Inspector Scott Richardson is area commander for South West Edinburgh
Chief Inspector Scott Richardson is area commander for South West Edinburgh

This has a far higher transmission rate which has led to the necessity for tighter restrictions. We are all affected by these restrictions and the impact this has on our personal and work lives goes without saying. There has already been much coverage around tighter restrictions and our Chief Constable has set out our approach to support people to follow the regulations and take personal responsibility.

What I wanted to focus on was not the usual policing activities covered in this column, but what this continuing situation means in part to me as a Local Area Commander and my staff. I am acutely aware the following is not exclusive to the Police Service and is indeed replicated across all areas of key work and the sacrifices the individuals involved make to keep people safe and save lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During these exceptional times we have been faced with the ever changing challenge of continuing to provide a policing service, while at the same time keeping our communities, as well as our officers and staff safe. The day to day demands may have changed but we still have to provide a policing response and a service to the community. Coronavirus does not stop at the doors of our police stations therefore we have had to additionally adapt and change our environment and practises to maintain staff safety within our buildings.

We offer all the support we can to our staff, for me they are my biggest asset and I want to look after them. Yes they are provided with Personal Protective Equipment, but there is still an unknown element which puts them at risk, which they accept without question.

In these circumstances we are obviously asking more of our officers and staff, expecting them to deal with situations that most people would be reticent to become involved with at the best of times, without the additional threat of Covid-19. Some will say ‘well that’s what you signed up for’ however I would point out that prior to last year no-one was sighted on Coronavirus and the threat it presents. The Police Service still have to protect our communities, keep the vulnerable safe and respond to incidents. All officers and staff have shown commitment and our response has had to be adaptive and flexible. This ever changing picture and balancing continuing service provisions with the safety and wellbeing of our staff places added pressure on them and continuing risk.

I would therefore ask you to focus not on the sensationalised social media stories, the exaggerated gossip of someone being fined £1000 travelling to the shops etc. Behind every police vehicle you see, every uniformed officer, anyone at a station front counter, there is a person, much like you. A person who will be there if you need them, no matter what. A person who has a family, a family they are concerned for, and they don’t wish to expose them to coronavirus because of their occupation. A person that has the same concerns and anxiety but is still willing to make personal sacrifices for others. As with all key workers we don’t have a choice, we have to be there to deal with demands as they occur and the longer the threat continues the more the pressure builds on these individuals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their actions and adhere to the legislation. I completely understand the frustrations of the restrictions and the pressures they bring.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, officers will undoubtedly have cause to engage with a wider section of the community and in situations we would not usually be involved with. If you find yourself in this situation take a moment to think. The Officer is responding to a report that has been made to us. Listen to the officer, they will explain the situation and how it relates to the regulations. They will encourage you to comply with the regulations. What they are asking you to do is to play your part in protecting all the key workers, services, their families, the wider community and NHS services, which ultimately saves lives.