Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney reflects on anniversary of first lockdown
Yesterday, we held a Local Policing Coordination Committee (LPCC), our first meeting of the year. This coincided with the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown, and a day where we remember all the people within our forces, partnerships and communities who lost their lives to COVID. We offer our condolences to their colleagues, friends and family.
The loss of colleagues affects us all deeply. They will forever be in our thoughts and prayers, and our policing family will support their loved ones for as long as it takes.
Almost a year ago, our LPCC was asked to assess the areas across our work that would be impacted by the pandemic.
Back then, we said the impact would be felt on children and young people. We felt there would be an increase of exposure to abuse and exploitation. An increase in unemployment and households in homelessness would likely lead to greater levels of child neglect and ultimately an increase in COVID-related Adverse Childhood Experiences.
We also said the extended isolation arising from lockdown and challenges in accessing social and professional support networks would have an adverse impact on mental health. This may well be exacerbated by rising unemployment and financial stress. Whilst this is clearly a area for others to lead on, it inevitably leads to police demand to manage risk in crisis.
However, nearly one year on, police across the country are working tirelessly and in partnership with other agencies to identify and support our vulnerable communities.
At the start of this pandemic, we said there were opportunities to explore, to enable a better and more effective service. We saw this through the increase in community activism, particularly with the amount of hours the Special Constabulary committed during the early days of lockdown. We couldn’t have policed without them.
We experienced a shift change in how our communities communicated with us, particularly through the Single Online Home, Digital Desks and the @YourPolice Instagram channel for young people. All of this is helping to shape our future capabilities in reaching out to communities and enabling innovative ways to talk to us.
Two events this year have demonstrated how far we’ve come in Local Policing to connect not only with our various policing portfolios and forces, but more widely with partner agencies. The Public Health Webinar Series in February is helping us to articulate the point that policing cannot stand alone in helping vulnerable people and societies from being impacted by crime. The Response Policing Week of Action has informed us that our approach to wellbeing for our frontline is making a difference. I know many local policing portfolios are planning similar events throughout the year and we look forward to those helping to steer our Local Policing agenda across the country.
So, on this anniversary, I thank you for allowing me to share reflections of the last twelve months and I want to take the opportunity to thank all police officers, staff and volunteers for working so tirelessly together and in partnership to support our communities during these challenging times.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, NPCC lead for Local Policing.
23 March 2021