Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore reflects on a difficult 12 months for the county
As the year draws to an end, I suspect many of us will reflect on how difficult our lives have become because of the pandemic.
The tragic loss of life coupled with the damage to our economy is unprecedented in peacetime.
Understandably, many of us wonder when this pandemic will be over and are concerned about the future holds for all of us.
The festive season is a time when I like to reflect on the past year and also to look forward – the new year is in some ways a time to start again – rebuild and refresh.
Looking back, in spite of the lugubrious atmosphere that prevailed throughout 2020, there have been some remarkable achievements, showing what can be delivered at a time of national emergency.
Here in Suffolk, the outpouring of shared endeavour and commitment to helping those in need has been remarkable and this continues. It is almost as if there was a hidden army of volunteers who, suddenly mobilised, to keep our county going.
These days, life seems to be much more complicated than when I was a boy. We’re so reliant on other people and organisations for our daily lives that it was a seismic shock when the national lockdown was imposed back in the spring. Life came to a juddering halt.
But in April I really believe The Queen’s extraordinary address to the nation acted as a catalyst for providing the hope and inspiration to defeat Covid-19 – when she said, we will meet again.
The development of vaccines in record time is truly spectacular and shows clearly how that power of collaboration delivers. While the vaccination of 66 million people in the UK is difficult, there can be no doubt we enter 2021 with renewed hope. In the meantime, we will need to be patient and stick to the guidelines.
I must take this opportunity to thank all of you for your personal contribution and sacrifice as we have adhered to the regulations. We are all frustrated and fed up, but sticking to the rules has made the job of our police and other enforcement agencies and emergency workers so much easier. In our country, policing is by consent and your attitude has shown other countries across the globe how important those Peelian principles of policing are.
At this Christmas time we must give our thanks and appreciation to all the emergency services and also recognise the contribution made by so many essential workers.
Remember also how many industries have risen to the challenge as well – online deliveries, manufacturing of essential equipment and medical supplies have been developed and delivered with breath-taking speed.
Many people have demonstrated remarkable flexibility and adaptability with their working practices. The ability to utilise with new methods of communication has allowed work to continue while respecting social distancing. This has applied in equal measure to the voluntary sector – I have seen at first hand countless examples of this adaptability in the organisations we commission.
That said, we must also recognise the hurt and pain affecting significant numbers of people. The loss of employment and income and the ensuing mental distress should also be in our minds as we enter the festive season.
There have been increases in some levels of crime – domestic abuse and online scams and fraud for example, and I know the police are continuing to work hard to bring offenders to justice and care for the victims.
Looking forward to next year, I am confident Suffolk will recover if we continue to work collectively, adhere to the Covid regulations and look after each other. The younger generations in Suffolk will need a particular focus and I will do what I can to commission services to support them.
I send you all my very best wishes for Christmas and 2021. Keep safe and keep well.
-- Tim Passmore is Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk