It’s been a year since the nation went into lockdown. Here Eamon Keating, Defence Police Federation Chairman, reflects on the challenges members have faced and thanks officers for their professional approach.
Reflecting on the past year, I have been incredibly impressed with the professional approach of all of our officers, whether they were working operationally in critical roles protecting the nation’s most sensitive assets, or working remotely in a support or administrative role, or isolating due to the requirement to shield themselves or a family member.
In all of those circumstances our officers have conducted themselves remarkably without complaint and with very little concern for their own safety.
We have been able to, through a collaborative approach with the force, ensure the working environment has been as safe as possible and alongside our ops and health and safety departments, where we have had outbreaks of infections the process to manage that and track and trace has been rapid and effective.
That doesn’t detract from the difficulties our officers have faced, the concern they might be exposed to the virus or could be bringing this virus home to their family, their loved ones, or those who are vulnerable. Amongst all of this they have found the fortitude to still carry out their primary role, one of protecting the public even when those fears may have been overwhelming.
This is the probably the first time where police officers work has had a potential to directly impact on their personal life, and by that I mean when we go to work we know we put ourselves at risk but very seldom do we put our family at risk. That was not the case this time and yet people have found a way through that and continue to turn up every day and do their job even in the most difficult of circumstances.
How do I reflect on the past year? With immense pride and with a feeling of overwhelming achievement from our officers and the way they have conducted themselves.
In support of those officers, the Federation managed to mobilise ourselves in such a way to continue the exemplary support that we give to officers, either directly or through third party organisations such as PFOA.
We have been there to support families where officers have tested positive, and on the few occasions where there has been the terrible circumstance and we have lost members, the support of the Federation has been there for those who needed it, their families, loved ones and colleagues. That is a terrible loss and our heartfelt condolences go out to all of those affected.
Again I am very proud of how our representatives have leapt at the opportunity to support officers.
Our workload increased massively but we have been there for every single officer when they have asked for assistance, we have provided it.
To my officers, thank you. For those that have had to battle through attending work every day and working in operational, dangerous environments, I understand how that must feel, and I’m proud of how my members have stood up and done the role asked of them every time.
We have never been tested like this before, but we did it, and we did it well. A huge heartfelt thank you to you all for everything that you have done to protect the public and our customers during this pandemic.