Looking back even fourteen months ago, it is hard to imagine we would ever see the events of 2020. Our world has changed so much.
For some this has been a dreadful year of tragedy. We mourn those we have lost within our own West Midlands Police family and today think of those who have died in our communities. We are looking forward to enjoying a brighter future that sees us meeting up with family and friends again.
This year has also been inspiring in so many ways. The miracle of science that has created the vaccination programme, the tireless work of NHS staff and those in care homes. Acts of kindness across communities.
Our own work has been outstanding. The preparation for mass fatalities saw us work with partners to create the largest temporary mortuary in the country from scratch. The work of our community deaths teams earlier in the year was remarkable. The quality of coordination with partners and, of course, the tireless work of all of you in enforcing the COVID regulations and keeping business as usual on the road.
Operation Colonel is the longest operation in West Midlands’ history. I think you have been remarkable throughout. It has been testament to your resilience whether you have been at work or supporting the force from home. I am under no illusions that our task does not seem to have the plaudits others are receiving. The last few weeks have been very tough and challenges lie ahead as the economic and social impact becomes clear. But there are also exciting times with Coventry 2021 and Birmingham 2022 around the corner.
Be under no illusions that your work has saved lives. The public know this. For this reason it will be my intention when the pandemic restrictions end to recognise the efforts of every officer and staff member during this time.
At 12pm today we remember those we lost.