As I write this blog, I could be forgiven for wondering if, by the time you read it, how we are allowed to celebrate Christmas may have changed again.

For our emergency services, and the police are just one of them, Christmas with family is regarded as a luxury, not an expectation. This year, however, I think we owe them a special thank you because they’re already weary from cancelled leave, longer hours and relentlessly responding to the endless challenges of this wretched pandemic. They know it’s far from over; it never is over in the police service and like most in the public sector, they look forward to a pay freeze next year.

So, in my last blog of 2020 I’d like offer a heartfelt thankyou to all the Gloucestershire Police officers, staff and the many volunteers that make up the Constabulary and of course include the other emergency services who  pull together to keep us safe.

“Will the Police be banging on doors on Christmas day?”

In many ways, for our police its business as usual. The drink/drug campaign is well under way and, depending on you look at it, has been successful in as much as they’ve already caught double the number of last year; while 999 and 101 calls abound. It’s busy!

Last week I was asked, ‘Will the Police be banging on doors on Christmas day to check we’re keeping to the regulations?’   My response is simple. ‘Please comply and don’t assume the police wont intervene’, but just to talk about that would be to trivialise the many emotions that will be felt at this time.

“Making the best of it will mean different things for all of us”

Some will have lost love ones to the virus and be grieving; some will be caring for others, many will be alone or lonely. Many have lost or fear losing their livelihood though whilst no one will have escaped 2020 unscathed, for some it’s been less poignant.  Incredibly, I personally know people in all these situations and I suspect many of you do too.

I’m looking forward to Christmas. It’s not the one I planned or expected but I’m going to make the very best of it and (within the regulations) I hope you do too. Making the best of it will mean different things for all of us but I hope the true meaning of Christmas will prevail; a message of hope and goodwill to each other.

I wish you a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.