Had I been asked at this time last year what 2020 would hold for our officers, I could never have imagined the situation that we found ourselves in.
However, I am so incredibly impressed and proud of the way in which our officers have stood up to the tasks in front of them. We’ve managed to maintain the security and the outputs that we have right the way through this pandemic and have approached it with a really professional, intelligent head.
All of our officers have done their utmost to look after their colleagues and their families. They have done all of this against a backdrop where we’re not only concerned about what might happen at work, which is a normal concern for policing, but we also had to worry about what our working environment might bring home to our families – and what our families might bring home and what we might then take into our working environments.
The pressures have been immense, but every officer has stood up to them. They have done an absolutely brilliant job and I am proud and impressed by the way in which they’ve approached this. I think 2020 will be seen as a legacy year for policing in general but specifically for the Ministry of Defence Police because they have done such a fantastic job.
A Year Of Change
From an operational perspective, I think the changes to our work during 2020 have been very similar to other policing environments in relation to protective equipment and the way in which we work, the numbers of people in rooms, social distancing.
From a Federation perspective, our workload increased substantially. We were not only looking after our members as we would ordinarily do and dealing with the usual issues of welfare, negotiation, consultation, conduct, but on top of that we had to work remotely, we had to find different ways of meeting. These have all been incredibly positive going forward and will enhance the way in which we work.
We’ve been present in 100% of the force meetings that have taken place on Covid so that’s two or three meetings a day right the way through the pandemic – and everybody in the Federation stood up to that task.
Working at home made our working hours increase exponentially and I can’t thank the Federation Reps enough for all the work they have done both during duty time and in their own time, on evenings, weekends, across the board.
We had an added difficulty because we are a national force and we’ve got stations in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, all under different Covid rules. At several points during this process the requirements in each area were different and that created massive issues – and conflicting issues at times.
We’ve worked co-operatively with the force and I think we’ve found the best route through this. It hasn’t always been easy, again the individuals involved have done phenomenal work. The end result is we’ve got to where we needed to but it’s been very, very difficult.
Your Health Comes First
The impact of Covid on the MDP workforce has been quite substantial. We’ve had several significant outbreaks and we’ve had a moving number of officers isolating for different reasons. The way in which we have all approached it has been that the health and wellbeing of our workforce is the first priority. We have been unfortunate to have lost people this year, both in force and in our families and to have several individuals who have been significantly ill from Covid. So it has had an impact on us, albeit potentially not as large an impact as it might have done had we not taken the precautions we took.
During this whole pandemic, our officers have worked through it. They weren’t able to go home and be in isolation permanently – they still had to go out and do their job. All of that comes down to the dedication of the professional approach that our officers take on a day-to-day basis and they’ve been like this throughout this pandemic.
I’m incredibly proud and impressed with the way they’ve conducted themselves over the past year, more this year than many before, and that’s why I think it will become a legacy for us because of what we’ve faced.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all our members and for those who are able to have time at home with their families I hope that they have a wonderful festive period. And for those that are working – thank you, genuinely, a massive thank you for continuing to do the important role that you do in protecting us and the nation and keeping everybody safe.
I’m very, very grateful to them all and I’m incredibly proud to be able to identify myself a Ministry of Defence Police officer.