The Prime Minister announced that nurseries and schools will close their doors after Friday 20 March as part of the strategy to delay the spread of Covid-19.

UPDATE: Full guidance released on 20 March can be found here. 

There was reference made to some school provision for children of key workers, including police officers and staff and a full list has now been published on the above link. 

Below is the government guidance for Police officers and police staff:

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

The below sets out some advice, based on the information we currently have available, for how forces can approach this until people have had more time to understand more fully what this means for them.

We will update with further advice on this when we can.

What does a good approach look like?

We know the majority of our officers and staff will be desperate to keep coming to work and contributing in their roles which are critical to keeping the public safe and we want them to be able to do that. We understand this may be challenging for them and their families due to the recently announced school closures (albeit many staff should already have plans in place for planned school holidays).

For staff who are unable to send their child/ren to nursery or school as a result of Covid-19 then a period of dependent’s leave (usually 3 days) to provide care for the first few days can be approved at the discretion of the employer to allow them time to put child care arrangements into place where possible, however, following the advice released today, we hope that many officers and staff who need it will be provided with a continuing school place for their child/ren.  

After that time, the local force should commit to working with those staff on a case by case basis to explore how they can keep contributing without any detriment to their family. This will be different for different situations – there is not a ‘one size fits all’ and as an emergency service, a balance will need to be struck.

The list of options will depend on the force’s stance but should seek to plan for the long term and recognise the contractual arrangements related to some police staff. Good practice is to establish very close and open working relationships with staff associations, trade unions and networks as soon as possible and to involve them in command structures. Agreeing boundaries locally will stand you in good stead over the duration of the crisis and beyond. 

We always try to support flexible working whilst meeting the needs of the organisation so if people need to work from home e.g. required to isolate, or adjust their hours for any reason, they should speak to their line manager as normal in the first instance. It is imperative therefore that forces ensure line managers are provided with support and clarity about their role and the force position. This will help them personalise the arrangement and build trust. 

Our ultimate aim is to make sure people who are healthy can keep contributing, as they want to do, to our vital policing response whilst limiting the impact on their wellbeing whether that be financial, physical or psychological.