The Force is being given a £670,000 boost to help fund extra patrols as part of coronavirus enforcement measures.
The Government surge funding comes as part of £60 million to be shared equally between police forces and local authorities. South Wales Police will receive £678,267 of the £30 million allocated to policing.
Steve Treharne, chair of South Wales Police Federation, welcomed the extra funds but expressed concern that it would inevitably have to be used to fund over-time.
“I cannot see that the Force has much alternative other than to use this money to fund over-time,” says Steve, “It can’t suddenly find extra officers to provide the visible policing patrols that the Government is seeking so instead our officers will be asked to do more.
“While this may be OK in the short-term, I am concerned at how this could affect officers in the longer-term. Police officers carry out a challenging and demanding role, there are, of course, times when they need to do over-time for operational reasons but if they work longer or give up rest days over a longer period of time it is going to have a detrimental impact on their physical and mental health.
“Police officers are stepping up to the mark when it comes to policing the pandemic but we also need to see the public doing their bit too.”
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has also welcomed the extra funding saying any genuine new money which helps ease the current pressure on policing can only be a positive thing.
But he added: “My question is, what is expected in return? Policing is over-stretched and colleagues are already doing all they can during this pandemic. Any suggestion that this extra money would take away the discretion which permits police officers to do their jobs to the best of their ability would be counterproductive and damaging. Alongside this announcement must be an effective public information campaign. This must make it crystal clear what is expected of the public.
“Police officers are already targeting those who wilfully breach Covid-19 regulations and this will continue. The new money will assist policing, but what we really need are more officers and a better communication strategy from the Government.”
The Government announcement said the aim was for police to be more visible to ensure members of the public comply with the restrictions in place to try to halt the spread of coronavirus while councils would get funding and guidance to support compliance and enforcement.
It would, ministers explained, enable police to increase patrols in town centres and ensure that people are complying with the new restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas. The police would also, they said, provide more support to local authorities and NHS Test and Trace to enforce self-isolation requirements.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The vast majority of the British public has come together, followed the law and helped prevent the spread of this virus.
“But we’ve been clear that, with infections rising, we will not allow a small minority of people to reverse our hard-won progress.
“This extra funding will strengthen the police’s role in enforcing the law and make sure that those who jeopardise public health face the consequences.”
Forces will be required to provide the Home Office with enforcement plans to demonstrate how the money is being used to tackle non-compliance with public health rules.