We invited Jane Gyford, Deputy Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire Constabulary to analyse the impact of 2020 and look forward to 2021:
Policing in any 21st Century setting has brought to bear different challenges, which I have often reflected on in recent times whilst nearing 29 years’ service in policing.
However, COVID-19 has been an extraordinary event and has seen policing rethink its stance to ensure it is able to continue to protect the communities that we serve. We have learnt that the values in UK Policing, centred around the Peelian Principles, have supported the Government’s mantra of the 4 E’s; focus on engagement and being part of our communities has been essential to policing in the pandemic.
I myself found that my role as lead for UK Disaster Victim Recovery (DVI) and UK Casualty Bureau (CB) was called upon by partners to assist with what is termed as excess death management, a remit that was not included in my UK portfolios originally, but with the expertise within my team, we were able to provide this response for the UK. London’s curve to manage the first spike in COVID-19 was the forerunner to the country’s response. So, to set the model and show that it was an effective measure, my team and I set to establish a response that in turn led to our partners from other emergency services and essential support being part of this as ‘true team’ working in difficult circumstances. Much learning was gained from this, and we were able to collate the way we ‘stand up’ to excess death management in critical times and write the official guidance to help others. It was a huge challenge for the team and me, but I feel so very proud of them, which includes not only my UK Coordinators but also the Regional DVI and CB professionals around the UK who are part of my national network.
In Cambridgeshire Constabulary, I have found that the force continues to exploit its hugely positive ethos of innovation and alacrity for change. I am amazed every day by the sheer will and drive to find new and better ways of serving the communities in Cambridgeshire. With this in mind, I have established an Enterprise Strategy which focuses on 4 pillars of work: Innovation, Income Generation, Savings and Efficiency, and Funding. Each pillar has a lead; the raison d’etre is to find better ways to work in 21st Century policing, including the way we have adapted to COVID-19. The agility of the workforce is being explored, and the need to balance this with visibility is being modelled as we speak. It is truly a dynamic and innovative culture.
Finishing my thoughts with comments close to my heart. London, and particularly the Business Community Sector, has been hard hit; I have seen this from afar. But I see many opportunities in this, with an appreciation that fixed locality of business particularly doesn’t necessarily define the communities that we police and are responsible for serving. Working away from the office does not mean you are not part of the communities within London, but in fact means that there are opportunities to build a network of security professionals with the police that continues to protect the business and economic infrastructure that is essential for the UK’s wider quality of life and community reassurance. I see much light at the end of this pandemic with closer human interactions with innovation brought to the fore by COVID-19, showing the ability for the human race to adapt, and specifically for UK communities that include the police, to pull together as we always have and will to continue to do so.
Deputy Chief Constable,
See also other articles in our Police and Partnerships category including:
Ian Dyson, Commissioner, City of London Police analysing the impact of 2020
Paul Crowther, CBE, Chief Constable, British Transport Police: 2020 has been a year like no other
Michelle Russell, Acting Chief Executive, The Security Industry Authority (SIA): unprecedented challenges in 2020