With the easing of lockdown, the UEFA European Football Championship, ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, an international climate change conference and the G7 summit all planned over the next few months, it is feared ‘things are not going to get easier for already stretched and stressed officers’.
Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said local officers are also experiencing ‘nearing pre-pandemic levels of demand’ as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.
He said: “People are enjoying this time, and the easing of lifting, and officers are starting to get their own lives back on track, but there is a bit of a cloud over the horizon.
“There is some apprehension around what this summer’s going to be like with the demands of the G7, Euros and more lockdown release dates.
“The mood is this is going to be a potentially historically busy next five to six months coming up, and demand is starting to creep back in even higher than it has been before, so that’s going to start to take its toll at some point too.”
He said despite lockdown restrictions easing, measures are still in place but Covid compliance is beginning to wane.
He added: “Sadly, we’ve not seen the same levels of co-operation with lockdown as we probably did the first time, so there has been a lot more activity out there.
“There’s been a couple of high-profile cases in South Yorkshire involving serious offences and murder, which has obviously added demands and strain.
“We’re at that usual point now, and we have been for a little while, and it’s only going to get potentially worse over the next six months.
“The good news is the force is still doing its very best to get as many officers and staff vaccinated as possible through the appropriate means, which is very welcome from us, so credit where it’s due.”
To pass on information to South Yorkshire Police about issues and incidents call 101.