I am writing this blog on the 7th January and it is already an extraordinary start to the year.
January is in some ways a little bit of a blue month after the excesses of Christmas and as the days are their darkest. We have lacked excess this year and the dramatic swing in infections from COVID is sobering. I think we can all agree we are entering a very difficult few weeks now with the new strain of the disease.
This comes at the very moment vaccinations emerged and so the hope of an end has been dampened by the sense of a punishing few months ahead.
A few thoughts from me:
On New Year’s Eve I joined OSU staff on Operation Reliance and saw first-hand what I would describe as the hard grind of COVID enforcement. It is tough relentlessly dealing with people who don’t see why they need to follow the rules. I was deeply concerned by some of the parties I saw and the health risk they create, specifically to us. I am supportive of the need for government to consider public facing roles in policing for early vaccinations. A point Chiefs have made to government.
I want to encourage you to keep up the patient, assertive but positive approach you have all been taking on this. I think you have shown the sense to enforce when needed. You have shown the use of discretion when necessary. We have, sometimes got things wrong with all the regs changes. It has been rare, but people have been acting in good faith and I back you. It probably feels unappreciated by the public as no one likes these rules.
What you are doing is necessary and difficult.
Enforcement will not solve infection rates. Without some enforcement infection rates would be higher as people would not follow the rules. This is vital at this very tough moment. I also am fond of saying to new recruits do not think the public are not behind you. They save their thanks for the big moments and that will come as this ends. I believe we will come out of this with a stronger bond with communities because the way we have gone about the tough stuff.
We all need to look out for each other at this moment. Some of us are working at home missing contact. Some of us are living alone and the human contact we have is only work. My New Year resolution this year is to reach out to five colleagues this month I have not seen for ages and see how they are doing. I wonder if we all did this and thought hard about the people who may need this contact the most we would feel a bit more connected? In any case we need to look towards colleagues and friends to make sure we are all ok.
A bit of internal kindness and friendship is timely but I do want to mention the Christmas appeal. I was so touched by the kindness you showed to so many people in need. Well done.
This is going to get better. 2021 may have started with COVID infections and a crazy time in the US (“Hold the line Capitol Police!”). I can promise it is going to be turbulent but vaccinations are creating a way out and we hope free us up to enjoy Coventry 2021 and get back to a more normal life.
It never been more important for us to be doing what we do. Let us make sure we all support each other in this final stretch.