Global progressive policing

Former ACC Owen Weatherill and Ch Supt Hannah Wheeler: Our experiences in the police response to COVID-19 (Part 1)

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In a somewhat desolate and windswept central location in England, former National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) National Lead for Civil Contingencies ACC Owen Weatherill and his former colleague Ch Supt Hannah Wheeler spoke to PolicingTV’s Founder and Publisher, Bernard Rix.

They tell us about their part in the UK policing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the learning that experience provides for future similar events. Owen also held the roles of Strategic Lead for the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) and National Mobilisation Coordinator (NMC) – and, in that capacity, also tells us a little about the UK’s preparedness to assist overseas at times of policing need. 

“You find new ways of doing things that you never thought you needed to know, or never needed to do”. 

“Our outlook [at the start of the pandemic] was we need to plan for six months… We were thinking we need to see this through to the Autumn of 2020. Of course, things moved on, developed massively, and we had to rethink that plan numerous times”.

“Everyone was dependent on me and my team – and we couldn’t let them down”. 

“It demonstrates that policing can and does operate really well, effectively together, in times of crisis. This was a time when everybody needed to try and pull together, consistently deliver the service we needed to, and work together to make that happen, against some really challenging obstacles. That’s exactly what we saw”. 

“I realised very early on that – whatever course the pandemic took – there would be some important things we would learn along the way. We needed to harness that, and make sure we didn’t lose it”.

So why the “desolate and windswept” location? The video reveals the answer – along with providing some emotional moments – for viewer, interviewer and interviewees – in recollecting the challenges that needed to be addressed.

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