Keeping you safe – A Saturday evening shift in December 2020
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Saturday 19 December 2020, 3pm.
As the news is breaking regarding the latest Covid-19 restrictions which are being put in place, for Leicestershire Police officers the day is continuing like any other.
For a number of officers including PC Ollie Stanley and PC Carl Humby, 3pm marks the start of their Saturday evening shift as they link into a Skype briefing with their sergeant and other colleagues to discuss the evening ahead.
The officers are assigned to different areas to focus on throughout the evening with PC Stanley and PC Humby covering the East Leicester area – although they will be assisting in other areas of the county too. Specific areas are mentioned for officers to carry out proactive patrols and checks to assist in providing a visible police presence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland throughout the evening.
After a few more questions, advice and guidance, it’s then time to load up the police car and make their way out ready for the shift ahead.
For PC Stanley and PC Humby and their colleagues, the shift will include responding to reported incidents, responding to reports of breaches of Covid-19 regulations, providing a high-visibility police presence in the area and ensuring all is in order.
Engaging with the community and keeping residents informed and reassured of the policing presence is also a large part of the job with one of the teammates PC Karen Daybell starting the shift by filming a short video for social media with the assistance of Police Dog Bo. The message is to reassure residents of officers being out and about and to also inform and advise in relation to adhering to Government guidelines.
PC Karen Daybell and PD Bo
For PC Stanley and PC Humby the shift begins with a drive around the area checking all is in order. One man is stopped and questioned in relation to the registration plate being missing from the front of his car (the registration plate is on his front dashboard). The man is spoken to and advised to sort the issue imminently to avoid any further action being taken.
The proactive checks then continue in areas including Humberstone Park before a couple of reports of Covid-19 regulation breaches are responded to. This includes a report of a number of people gathered at Hospital Close in Leicester.
PC Stanley and PC Humby attend along with other colleagues where a number of people are found to be gathered in a number of vehicles. Those in attendance are spoken to with a total of 20 fixed penalty notices being issued to those who are in the area and who are found to have breached regulations.
The FPN amount will be dependent on a number of factors including when the fine is paid.
Further calls on the shift include two youths being detained for a stop and search in the area of Macauley Street following concerns raised by another officer in the area. A small amount of suspected cannabis is found nearby. No drugs are found on the two youths who deny being involved. One of the youths – a 17-year-old - is taken home by other officers.
For the officers on the different shifts, while many areas are showing calm and order and adherence to Government guidelines, different calls continue to come in which officers across the area continue to respond to.
For officers PC Stanley and PC Humby, their role during the shift is also to be on hand to assist with any incidents where further police support is needed. While they initially get called to assist with some of these incidents throughout the evening, leading to the sirens being switched on, they are stood down when officers at the scene inform them that the incidents are now under their control and further back up is therefore no longer required.
As the evening continues, and after a short meal break, the proactive checks continue including in the Hamilton area and in the area of Victoria Park. It is reassuring as the checks are carried out to see quiet streets with few people around. Some friendly chats are had with people who are around to ensure all is well.
A few vehicle checks are also carried out along the way when concerns are raised, leading to one car being stopped in St Matthew’s Way where it is confirmed that the car has no valid insurance or MOT. The driver is reported and it is ensured the people in the car can all get home safely before the car is seized. PC Stanley and PC Humby wait to ensure the vehicle is fully recovered before leaving the area.
Elsewhere on the shift, teammates are being called to a report of a fight involving a number of people in the area of De Montfort Street. It is reported that some of the people are in possession of weapons including knives and a metal pole. While a number of reported suspects try to escape the scene both on foot and in vehicles, officers are quickly there with seven people being arrested on suspicion of violent disorder. Fortunately no injuries are reported.
The seven people – two 16-year-old boys, four 17-year-old boys and an 18-year-old man, all of Leicester – are taken into custody to be questioned.
As the shift draws to a close at 11pm, and officers handover to the next crew, it has been a mixed shift for those involved including some blue light responses and arrests and calls to Covid-19 regulation breaches as well as proactive patrols and engagement with communities. For all the officers involved though, it has been for one purpose – to help to keep the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland safe.
While circumstances and guidelines are changing as we approach the festive period, officers will continue their shifts throughout the coming weeks checking all is in order, providing policing presence and taking action when needed.
Superintendent Adam Slonecki said: “This is just one example of the many shifts that will be carried out over the next couple of weeks ensuring our communities are safe throughout the Christmas and New Year period - as we do throughout the entire year.
“My thanks go to the many people in the community who are working with us to keep you and your families safe at this time including by adhering to Government guidelines. Please be assured we will continue to be out and about working to keep you safe and we will take action when it is needed.
“Thank you to all the officers and staff who are working at this time, spending time away from their own families to help others and to keep others safe. Your dedication and commitment is very much appreciated at this time and throughout the whole year.
“While circumstances are very different this year, I would like to wish our communities as well as all of our officers and staff a happy, safe and enjoyable Christmas time.
*The seven people arrested on suspicion of violent disorder have since been released under investigation. Officers are appealing for witnesses in relation to the incident.