Metropolitan Police Federation

‘We won’t allow people to put others at risk’

The challenges brought to policing by the third lockdown and the reality of what officers face as they work to keep people safe from Covid-19 have been laid out on national radio by Chairman Ken Marsh.

Speaking in interviews on BBC 5Live and BBC Radio London, Ken said: “I think we have got to the stage where people do understand what they can and cant do, so it’s absolutely right that we now stop engaging and start enforcing from the off so everyone knows where we are coming from.

“We have been engaging for an awfully long time. And unfortunately, there is a very small nucleus of individuals that just don’t want to conform. If they want to put themselves at risk then they can crack on, but we won’t allow them to put others at risk and we will enforce immediately.”

Ken said there had been problems with clarity on what officers were being expected to do throughout the pandemic, but it was good to finally be getting some backing from those in Government.

He said “It’s very frustrating. We have over 3,000 officers off isolating or with COVID-19 at this moment – that’s about 10% of our workforce, and this is increasing rather than coming down. We’re in a serious position, not critical, but serious because the same amount of work plus has to be done by my colleagues who are available.

“This is real. This isn’t something we’re just dreaming up to enforce. My colleagues don’t want to be out there enforcing this. They’ve had 66 new pieces of legislation in the past 12 months. It’s a phenomenal amount and they’re having to learn it, understand it, absorb and then go and deal with it. It’s very real and my colleagues are stressed. So I am passionate about this.

“And as cops, we also feel that we’re constantly being lambasted, the press love to pick up a story and run with it around something one individual has done and make it about the entirety of policing. We are doing thousands of other things absolutely spot on, we might get the odd one wrong, I’ve said that enough times.

“There have been problems with clarity throughout the pandemic and we accept that fully, but it is now good to see the big guns come out trying to explain where we are as hopefully that will make my colleagues – and the public – understand things a little better.”