Ian White, Secretary of Gloucestershire Police Federation, has praised colleagues foir their fantastic response to the coronavirus crisis.

“These are unprecedented times for policing as we know it, both locally and nationally,” said Ian.

“From a policing perspective in Gloucestershire, officers and staff have responded magnificently in adapting to the Covid-19 threat. The Federation are involved in advising and consulting with commanders on every decision that affects our members, and I am pleased to say our voice is being heard.

“Front line officers have adapted to shift pattern changes, cancelled leave, school closures and much more with a can-do attitude and a real team spirit.

“Officers that have had to self-isolate, work from home or are ill are in regular contact with managers to manage their welfare and we are also involved in this. The Federation are here to assist members in any way we can, practically, emotionally, professionally and of course, in confidence.”

Ian added: “There is no doubt that we are just at the start of a very long and extremely difficult journey. Officers are having to adapt to new legislation and new unseen risks and there will be a difference in how we respond to calls from the public.

“The biggest thing that the public can do to assist both themselves, the police, the NHS and society itself is by staying in their homes unless absolutely necessary and follow Government advice.

“Policing what is effectively a lockdown will be a huge, if not impossible task, and the public need to do this work for and with us by staying indoors. We will try and encourage, educate and convince members of the public to comply with the law in a way that is firm and fair and only use powers where absolutely necessary.

“There are already pressures on policing due to sickness levels and this could potentially increase significantly in the coming weeks. Our officers need a constant supply of PPE to maximise their safety at all times.

“I know the Government are doing all they can to increase stocks, and the NHS are rightly the highest priority, but police officers must not be left without the protection they deserve.

“I am keen to see police officers and other emergency blue light responders tested for the virus at an early stage. This will allow officers that are self-isolating to get back to the front line quicker, which will improve staffing levels and keep people safe.”

Ian concluded: “We will be tested like never before, but I have no doubt that my colleagues in all areas of policing will meet the challenges ahead in the finest traditions of British policing and will play a key role in bringing this deadly disease to an end.

“I also want to pay tribute to our colleagues in the NHS who are working under the most extreme pressures, and putting themselves in danger every time they go to work. Their dedication and loyalty are astonishing and will no doubt save many lives.”