Christmas often brings out the best in people and within the Constabulary, I never cease to be impressed by the generosity of our officers, staff and volunteers.
Last week, we collected 100s of Hamper Scamper parcels and gifts for children and families in need. At the beginning of December, our Citizens in Policing team held one of their special events for our Treasure Seekers, vulnerable adults and young people with mental health and/or learning difficulties. That even included a couple of real live reindeers and a fun fair ride that was hugely enjoyed by all, including me!
These good works by the Constabulary take place throughout the year, not just around Christmas. Since 1st Jan this year, there have been almost 2,500 occasions when officers have found missing people. They have responded to nearly 8,000 domestic abuse incidents, saving many from coercive control and violence; and assisted thousands more with mental health problems. I have lost count of how many people with heart attacks have been given CPR and brought back to life with a defibrillator. All part of a day’s work for officers within the Constabulary. Impressive.
Our officers care most sincerely for their communities and are invariably driven by a strong sense of public service. Even after a long day at work, some police staff want to continue adding value, and volunteer as Special Constables. Such selfless service is the life blood of this country. Volunteering is strongly established in Britain and we continue to have one of the highest rates in the world, remaining a key element to promote social participation and active citizenship.
And yet, Christmas can also be a time of great stress. With those in work rushing to complete end of year tasks and create space for time off over Christmas, on top of preparing our homes to celebrate family get togethers. This stress and lack of time can lead to all sorts of problems, as we rush on the roads and when shopping.
We must all remember to show respect for each other as we go about our business – to let that car go on ahead, to let that pedestrian cross the road, to say a nice word to the shopping assistant. Saying a friendly word to each other does not cost anything but can really help to raise the spirit and let the joy of Christmas into our hearts.