COVID-19 Update: Officers Must Stay Vigilant
It has been eight months since we were first affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we went into the restrictions during the first lockdown in March, the Metropolitan Police had to take measures to protect officers and staff in their daily duties. PPE was distributed and police stations had to be made legally covid compliant. Training activities were cancelled and Met gyms were closed.
Facial coverings were not recommended in the first part of the pandemic. But science now shows facial coverings will protect other people even if they provide the wearer with limited protection.
This is why we must wear these when directed and when possible. It must be noted that Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Ken Marsh Chairman and General Secretary Paul Deller called for officers to use face masks at the beginning of the pandemic.
The Met has good stocks of PPE, although new PPE guidance and legislation is soon to be published by Public Health England. It is believed the guidance will not differ considerably from what is currently being advised.
At the time of writing, the infection rate of the virus is going up and a second lockdown has been implemented.
Training within the Met has been recommenced, with strict guidance and implementation.
This is always under review but the Met are trying to make sure this is delivered for officer safety and public safety.
All workplaces have to be covid compliant and must be signed off in a risk assessment. The Met is no exception to this and must comply.
At the end of each month the OCU/BCU Commander must sign a risk assessment which states that their place of work is safe.
There should be readily available sanitiser, wipes, clear signage, and one-way systems where possible.
Masks should now be worn in Met canteens before consuming food or drink. Most canteens should now have the QR code check in, although it is not mandatory to use it in a Met facility.
Social distancing is paramount and we must socially distance from each other even if we feel it unnecessary. This applies to all in every environment. We must follow the rules to protect ourselves, our colleagues and our families.
Custody is now considered a medical facility: although it is difficult at times, please follow the directions.
During the first lockdown gym facilities around the Met were closed but reopened later with guidance. This will always be under review and could depend on Government guidance, so please follow the published guidance around gyms.
‘Mystery shoppers’ are attending different police establishments unannounced to measure compliance. The HSE will take action if any place is non compliant.
If you have any issues of non compliance, please speak with your supervisor or building covid lead. If there are any issues, please record them on the Met’s eSafety system as a near miss so that it can be picked up and signed off as actioned. It may also help other buildings with similar issues.
No facility can be 100% covid compliant, but blatant ignorance of safety rules will not be tolerated.
If you feel unsafe due to non-compliance, please bring it to the attention of your supervisor and speak to your local Federation Rep. Failure to comply with safety regulations could lead to the force being prosecuted.
Public transport is considered to be safe, but the Government recommends cycling and walking where possible. A lot of us do not live in London so we must take extra care while travelling.
Positive tests are rising in the Met – to your credit self isolation has fallen due to us all following the rules. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should get a test as soon as you can. You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you receive your test result. You can call 111 for advice if you are unsure or visit www.nhs.uk
Legislation and advice is fast moving and can change overnight. Please refer to the Met intranet for force-specific guidance.
Although sometimes a little slow, the Met is trying its best throughout the pandemic to keep everyone informed.
Anyone working from home due to being vulnerable or shielding who is asked to return to the workplace will need a risk assessment. This will need to be completed by your line manager and overseen by Occupational Health.
New advice was been put on the intranet at the beginning of November for those working from home and vulnerable persons in whichever capacity they are working.
This virus is quick moving. Although meetings around it are held daily and weekly in the Met at all levels, it is very challenging to implement the rules and regulations as the Government make changes daily and at at short notice.
We have always been asked to step up and perform, and you have all done an amazing, exceptional job in unprecedented times.
Please follow the rules, socially distance from each other and wear face masks where and when required. Stay safe and well.