We Must Be Patient and Allow the Police To Navigate the New Legislation

WiltsCommMessaging logo high thumbBlog post by Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson:

This week there has been a sharp focus on policing and the different interpretations of how to enforce the Government guidance and the new legislation.

Whilst some feel that the police are being 'heavy-handed', others want the police to do more and, unfortunately, our hard-working officers, staff and volunteers find themselves in the middle.

My view on this, which is echoed by the Chief Constable, is that we, in Wiltshire, want to use enforcement action as a last resort.

Our officers will engage with our communities, explain the importance of this situation and encourage them to heed the guidelines as set out by Government - if enforcement is needed however, it will of course be utilised.

This is a very fast moving issue and these are unchartered waters for policing, legislation, public health and, ultimately, us all.

The Prime Minister has been clear in the guidance he laid out - stay home and save lives.
I would encourage you all to think about your actions and the personal responsibility we must now all take.

We will all need to change our habits as a result of Coronavirus and many have had to make changes to their daily routine but ultimately, it is a small price to pay to save lives, protect our NHS and support our keyworkers.

We must also remember that it is not the police who write laws and pass legislation - their responsibility is to engage, encourage, explain and only when necessary should they enforce.

Ordinarily, legislation goes through years of checking and testing to ensure that it is practical and works in society. Whereas this legislation was created and passed in a few weeks to help slow and reduce the spread of the virus.

We need to be patient and allow the National Police Chief's Council, and our local forces, time and space to understand what this means for them and our communities.

In a time of great uncertainty, I think we all need to take the opportunity to be kinder to one another and less judgemental. It is reassuring to see just how much different communities are pulling together to help those in self-isolation or vulnerable and unable to get groceries and medicine. The community effort in supporting others has genuinely been incredible across our county and further afield.

I am proud of the way in which the police in Wiltshire are operating during this emergency, alongside their partners, and the way in which they continue to work together during what is a national public health emergency for all. 

We all have a role to play in keeping people safe and protecting the NHS, and only by working together will we be successful.