WHILE most of the country wakes up and races to look under their tree on Christmas morning, Dyfed-Powys Police officers will be preparing for business as usual.
Colleagues across the force will be on duty overnight and through the day to help keep our communities safe.
For Force Incident Manager Inspector Dyfed Bolton, the bells will be ringing in as he and operations room staff make vital decisions to ensure officers respond to incidents as effectively and as quickly as possible.
Working nights on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, means the father-of-two will be rushing home to watch his children open their presents, before going to bed to catch up on his sleep.
“Hopefully I’ll get home in time to see if Santa has been,” he said. “If I’m lucky, they won’t have opened their presents before I get back, but they might have. Once they’ve seen what Father Christmas brought, I’ll have a few hours’ sleep and then get up to help with dinner.
“My wife is working Christmas afternoon and I’m back in for nights so we’ll only have a few hours together as a family. It is the nature of a frontline public service role, and our children understand that mami and dadi work a lot of shifts.”
There will be little time for celebrations, but Insp Bolton said incident room staff will bring in treats to keep spirits up.
“Each of the codes looks after each other and will bring things in,” he said. “The mood is quite jovial, but when a call comes in we go back into default mode.
“You do get serious incidents on Christmas Day and we are here to serve the public. If a response is needed, we are there to ensure they get it.”
Llanelli PC Ashley Crocker will be working his first Christmas Day as a response officer, and plans to celebrate with a family dinner on Boxing Day before heading in to work for an afternoon shift.
“As a shift worker you know you might end up working Christmas Day, so it’s expected,” he said. “There was another officer who was down to work, but he has children so I said I would come in. If you’re a parent you want to be with your children on Christmas Day.
“Our job is to be here if the public need it, even if it is Christmas. If we have some downtime we’re hoping to do something with staff from the fire service as they’ll be working too.”
Sergeant Hana Edwards will be spending Christmas Day at Aberystwyth Custody Suite, where she has worked for the past few months following two years in response.
She said: “I’m hoping we don’t have any prisoners in on Christmas Day as that would be a miserable Christmas for them. If we do have anyone come into a cell, our role is to make sure they are well looked after during their time with us. We’re a bit like hoteliers really, but without the luxury surroundings and there won’t be any Christmas dinners on offer.”
Unlike some of the police stations around the force, there are no festive decorations in custody – you wouldn’t even know it was Christmas.
“We don’t put Christmas decorations up in custody as we don’t want to rub it in the faces of anyone who ends up here,” Sgt Evans said.
“It’s a very different role coming from response to custody. In a response role you spend a very short period of time with someone. When you’re dealing with a prisoner in custody it is much more about making sure they are safe and comfortable during their visit. In custody, we’re not part of the investigation at all, we are impartial and responsible for ensuring we carry out appropriate risk assessments, making sure they get the support and advice they need, for example they could have mental health issues that require extra support.
“Some prisoners are easier to deal with than others and you build up a rapport with them, which makes life so much easier for everyone. Most of the time they are thankful for use looking after them.”
If you need police assistance over Christmas, call handlers will be available 24/7. Call 999 if there is an immediate threat to a person or property, or 101 to make a non-urgent report. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for slow-time, non-emergency queries or advice.