Gloucestershire Police Officers are facing ‘unprecedented’ demand and things are only likely to get more pressurised for them ahead of the US Presidential state visit.
Mike Harrison, Gloucestershire Police Federation Chairman, says his officers, who recently helped their Met colleagues deal with Extinction Rebellion protests are primed to add their professionalism and experience to policing Mr Trump’s visit in June.
But being involved in policing events elsewhere can leave gaps which have to be filled back in the county, he warned.
“It’s an unprecedented demand. We sent mutual aid to assist the Metropolitan Police, and our officers went down to Heathrow Airport and were utilised there to great effect,” he said.
“That takes them away from their day job, which leaves a gap, which we either fill or we run without, having a knock-on effect on the welfare of the staff left behind because they’ve got to pick up the slack from those gaps.
“With President Trump coming again in June we’ve already seen a block of all new leave requests and requests for time off because we don’t know what the policing requirements are going to be.
“With a stretched service already, the demand is ridiculous and no doubt we will be asked to provide mutual aid again, leaving those gaps.
“Nationally, policing will be stretched, as it was last time, but as always, we will do what we can, keep the public safe, and do what we can with stretched resources. But the knock-on welfare effect does need to be accepted and reviewed at some point.”
Officers will likely face another leave embargo to cover the new planned Brexit date of 31st October.
“Brexit could happen at any time, and my concern is if it’s pushed through at short notice then the short notice effects of cancellation, potentially, of rest days etc. will have quite a big morale knock on the force or policing nationally,” Mike said.
“It’s a case of watch this space and see what’s decided. We’re in the hands of Government and what they decide to do.
The Federation is working with the force to try and minimise disruption as much possible, set against having to plan for the unknown.
“We will work with the force and the planning teams concerning any Brexit operation that takes place to ensure that officers’ rest days are protected and their time off, as far as possible, is protected.
“Officers need their time off, they need their space, they need their family time,” Mike said.
“Until it happens, we just really don’t know what the policing demand is going to be. It may go without hindrance. It may be straight forward. On the other hand, it may be social disorder; there may be all sorts of things taking place that we’ve got to police.
“We just don’t know what we’re going to face.”