As the anniversary of the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions approaches, the region’s Police Commissioner has praised Merseyside Police for the “exceptional” way it has responded to the pandemic. The country is preparing to hold a National Day of Reflection to mark the first anniversary of the UK lockdown and Jane Kennedy has thanked officers, PCSOs and staff for the “great resilience and commitment to serving the public” they have shown throughout the pandemic, despite the potential risks to their own health and wellbeing. Throughout the epidemic, the Commissioner has been in daily contact with Chief Officers to keep updated on emerging issues, have oversight of how Merseyside Police is coping with the additional pressures created by COVID-19 and monitor how the Force is responding to the additional enforcement activities required due to lockdown restrictions. Throughout COVID-19, sickness levels within the Force have remained lower than normal. Jane said, “The global coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenge to our way of working and our way of life. It has been a year of profound anxiety, hardship and stress for many. While our fantastic health service has taken the brunt, the police, as always, have also been on the frontline during this extraordinary time. “We never could have predicted that officers would be in a position where they are required to fine people for having peaceful parties, exercising in large groups or even socialising with their family or friends, but this is what has been required to keep us all safe. “There is no doubt, grappling with and enforcing COVID-19 legislation has created significant challenges for our police service nationally. An enormous effort has gone into ensuring the restrictions are being adhered to in a realistic and common sense way, without putting officers and staff at risk. “Officers have been encouraged to engage, explain, encourage and enforce where necessary throughout, with a large degree of success and enforcement only being used as a last resort. “I have been continually impressed and reassured by the response from Merseyside Police. Stepping up to those challenges admirably, with great resilience and commitment displayed by officers, PCSOs and staff, despite the potential risk to their own health and wellbeing and often in the face of traumatic circumstances. “Indeed, the resilience of the force has been striking, with sickness levels remaining lower than normal, and officers and staff determined to continue to provide a first-class service to the public of Merseyside despite the fact that many have suffered family losses and illness. “More than ever before, the fine men and women of the Force have been asked to go above and beyond their normal duties to protect the public. Their willingness to cope with the extreme pressure and continue to go the extra mile to protect, care for and support local people has been exceptional. “On behalf of the public of Merseyside, I want to thank our officers, PCSOs, staff and volunteers for their dedication, professionalism and bravery, every day and particularly over the challenging last 12 months.” Like the birkenhead.news Facebook page and follow @BirkenheadNews on Twitter Read more birkenhead.news articles.