The Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Parliament has praised police officers in the country for retaining the ‘overwhelming support of the public’ during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ann Jones MS, the Member of the Senedd for Vale of Clwyd and Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Parliament, issued a letter of thanks to Police Federation members in Wales and described their contribution as being ‘in the finest traditions of the service.’
In a personal message to North Wales Police Federation General Secretary Mark Jones, the leading politician wrote: “The Coronavirus pandemic has seen a seismic shift in the way we all live and work; not least because of the temporary restrictions placed upon us during lockdown.
“Overnight, police officers across the country were asked to do something that has not happened before in Britain: enforce strict limitations on movement and freedom of assembly – all to protect public health.
“It is often said, and rightly so, that the police are the public and that the public are the police. The challenging nature of the lockdown has seen police officers across North Wales, and indeed across the UK, call on their excellent links with the community to explain the reasons for the lockdown, encourage people to follow the new rules and, where necessary, take enforcement action to ensure compliance.
“North Wales is blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside and coastline in the UK and in normal times, visitors would find a warm welcome. Enforcing nonessential travel rules has been a vital part of police officers’ duties for the small number of people who feel able to disregard the safety of others.
“All such encounters carry increased risk and officers have not shied away from putting the
needs of others at the forefront of their actions. It would be extraordinary if such a rapid and drastic change to policing saw no teething problems.
“Despite the attempts of some of the media to portray the police in a negative light, I believe that officers have acted proportionately and in the finest traditions of the service. Because of this, the police retain the overwhelming support of the public.
“Unlike England, the lockdown continues here in Wales with the Welsh Government recently increasing the limit on fixed penalty fines to help officers better enforce the Welsh regulations.
“As a former emergency service employee, I know the impact of these challenging times will not just be felt by police officers and support staff but also their families. Many officers will be separated from family who may be self-isolating.
“My gratitude, and that of the public at large, is extended to police officers and staff who continue to keep us safe during these unprecedented times.”
Her support was warmly welcomed by John Apter, the National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Mr Apter said: “Police officers don’t do what they do for reward or thanks, but this appreciation will mean so much to my colleagues in Wales.
“Policing is tough at the best of times and during the pandemic it has undoubtably become harder. To receive the support of an influential person such as Ann Jones will be really appreciated by the entire police family.
“I’d also like join Ann in saying thank you to my Welsh colleagues for their fantastic work during the crisis, and for their outstanding contribution to the country.”