24 March 2021
Gwent Police Federation’s conduct and wellbeing lead Annalea Kift says she’s concerned how the pandemic has impacted the training and development of new recruits to the Force.
Aspects of police training have had to be adapted to the various lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions.
And many new officers will not have experienced policing the night-time economy or sporting or cultural events.
Reflecting on a year since the Government imposed the first coronavirus lockdown, Annalea voiced her worries about the development of new officers and the mental health impact of the pandemic.
“I have concerns for officers, in particular, that have joined and trained during Covid-19,” she said, “Have we prepared them adequately to be fully-fledged police officers?
“I think the mental health impact may well take its toll on the whole nation,” she added
Annalea’s experience of the first lockdown was different to that of many of her colleagues as she caught chickenpox around this time last year.
“I was very nervous about mixing with anyone and didn’t leave the confines of my home and garden for six weeks, worrying about my immune system,” she said.
“It was a very strange experience going out the first couple of times to the supermarket and then to work.
“I had concerns some colleagues weren’t taking it seriously and not adhering to social distancing etc. Some behaved as though they were invincible, like the uniform protects us.
“However, I also wondered whether I was over-reacting. It was bizarre in that people kept their distance when I mentioned chickenpox but not because of Covid.”
Annalea added: “Personally not a lot changed for me. Apart from pub lunches and holidays, we don’t go far. Work-wise, I changed jobs in June. We manage the office by having one person in if we can.
“Thankfully there was no home-schooling for me. My daughter is 26 and my stepdaughter was in school as child of a keyworker.”
Annalea said that as the pandemic has evolved, officers have adapted to the various lockdowns and the requirements of them.
“They’ve adjusted much better this time around,” she said, “People take it far more seriously. They’re massive on social distancing, PPE, masks around the work place and cops in cars wearing them as well.
“Cops are not invincible and need to be reminded of that,” she added.
And she said that the Force has also adapted as the pandemic has developed.
“Many of us don’t need a full-time office,” she said, “Agile working works. We’re a greener police service as we’ve reduced our carbon footprint and we need to keep it going.”