We are about to enter one of the most demanding periods of the Policing year, with officer numbers at the lowest they have been for some considerable time and demands being made on Policing that are unprecedented. 

Unfortunately (and to use a word that seems in common place in politics at the moment) we are the “Backstop” for many different agencies who look to divert work our way. I am hoping that in 2019 we are able to push back more and ask others to take their responsibilities seriously and not rely on the Police to pick up the pieces.

We have seen how the goodwill and hard work of our members has kept the Public safe and the Organisation functioning. All too often the work of the officers on the Front Line is over looked and taken for granted. They are the staff who are out in the cold and wet, dealing with the initial incidents, guarding scenes, attending Road Traffic Collisions, dealing with Firearms threats, taking statements and getting assaulted. They are the Detectives and Local Investigation Teams investigating the more in depth crimes, incidents and looking after victims. They are the Neighbourhood Officers and PCSO’s who are out maintaining the contact with our communities, they are our Special Constabulary colleagues who give up their time to assist us in a variety of roles and without whom our staffing levels would be far worse. 

Those of us who are in roles away from the front line should look at our colleagues and realise the pressures and strain they are under and let’s be honest recognise what they do.

Christmas is a time of year when we would all like to be at home with our families and loved ones, but we should spare a thought for those who are working and missing out on these special times. They will be keeping the public safe and will be there in the hour of need for many sections of our community, and they should be thanked for that.

New Year should be one big party for all, but no doubt over indulgence and drink infused public order will stretch us to the maximum. I am looking forward to working Streetsafe duty on New Year’s Eve, not only will I be able to brush up on my skills, but it will allow me to see first-hand the real issues our staff face.  

To those of us who are about to receive our street safe duties for 2019, let’s put it into context, it is a few shifts away from our usual place of work supporting those staff who face the problems of society on a daily basis. Yes we are all very busy, but let’s take up the challenge and do our bit.

Over the past year we have seen some great staff join the organisation, we have seen many great officers and staff retire and we have sadly said good bye to a number of serving and retired friends and officers. Please do take a moment to think of them and their families over the Christmas period and perhaps raise a toast in their memory.

For me personally, the end of 2018 has been an extremely busy time taking on the role of Chair, but I am glad to see the introduction of Spit and Bite Guards for front line officers, our Well Being Strategy has continued and the support and training staff receive is constantly empowering managers and individuals to step up and assist colleagues in need.

2019 brings its challenges, not only do we face Brexit (or not) and all that may bring, we will face our own exit from the Tri Force agreement, whatever has been said and whatever other Forces may think, it will result in a far better service for the Public of Gloucestershire and enable us to maintain our own identity with local officers policing our local communities. 

For those working over the Festive Period, stay safe and thank you for what you do.