The chair of Staffordshire Police Federation has said the Government must provide police forces with ‘crystal clear’ guidance on the eased lockdown restrictions which came into effect yesterday (29 March).

Phil Jones pointed out conflicting guidance from the UK’s devolved Governments was unavoidable but that the advice from Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be clearer.

“We are all relieved that restrictions are easing and it’s looks like the situation is improving but the biggest challenge for my colleagues throughout the pandemic has always been trying to enforce the constantly changing restrictions and guide the public accordingly,” Phil explained.

“There have already been 60 changes to the guidelines and police officers have the difficult job of translating what is said by the Prime Minister and other ministers on to the streets and that becomes even more difficult when there appears to be no clarity.

“The Police Federation has asked Mr Johnson previously for crystal clear guidance to avoid people either inadvertently breaking the rules or deliberately taking advantage when there appears to be grey areas or confusion.”

Lockdown easing began in England yesterday and changes to guidance include:

  • Groups of six people or a group of any size from two households can meet outdoors
  • Organised outdoor sports activities can resume, as can outdoor childcare, and
  • Organised parent and children groups are allowed outside for up to 15 people with under fives not included in that number.

Phil’s comments come after the national chair, John Apter, appeared on Good Morning Britain and Sky News yesterday.

The national chair said: “There are obviously differences between the English rules and those from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, so there is some confusion and we’re used to that. The problem is that this causes frustrations and my colleagues bear the brunt of that out on the streets. 

“There’s been an awful lot of confusion about what’s happening, and that is why I am calling on the Prime Minister and the devolved Governments to be crystal clear on the guidance.” 

John also repeated his call for police officers and other frontline workers to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine, saying: “We have some large scale events coming up in the coming months where hundreds, if not thousands, of police officers will be deployed around the country and yet none of them are being prioritised for the vaccine. It’s a real betrayal by the Government.”