Officer responds to those who fear police want to 'diminish freedom' during pandemic

11 January 2021, 14:22

By Fiona Jones

This officer called James O'Brien to respond to people who believe that law enforcers are trying to "curtail their freedom" and will continue to do so after the Covid crisis.

James introduced the topic after the Derbyshire Police controversially fined two women while on a country walk last week, after it was announced there would be a crackdown on Covid rule-breakers.

Officer Caroline told James, "Freedoms are so important to police officers...it can feel very uncomfortable going into parks and asking people to stop playing football.

"I just wanted to set straight that it really isn't at the core of anything in this country that policing wants to see or enact."

James observed it must be frustrating for her to hear herself and colleagues being portrayed as "some sort of stasi", to which Caroline said that is "exactly why" she called in.

"I am aware there are going to be mistakes...it's also very important to understand that if we are giving out tickets, it's only if people won't cooperate with that process that we would ever have to move to an arrest stage," she said, "all we're asking is for the public to do their bit."

James likened it to him having to suddenly broadcast his show in a different language, making the point that the Covid regulations are ever-changing and officers are likely to make mistakes - which is fine as long as from them comes learning.

"People always support the police until they're policed themselves," Caroline pointed out, "there are some people now who are experiencing that and they don't like it."