I am writing this on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon in December. But my spirits were raised immeasurably earlier today by the Barnsley Concert Band – whom I had never heard before – playing Christmas songs and carols at my local supermarket. Thank you to them. Even so, I was glad to get home to some central heating – and that made me think.
The one thing most of us want at Christmas is to be at home with our family. For most of us that means being with the people who love us in the place where we feel most secure. I hope that all those who read these words will have just such a Christmas.
As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am also acutely aware that some in the police (and other emergency services) will have to sacrifice their Christmas to safeguard the rest of us. I want to put on record our thanks to them.
Some of those will not be the most obvious. Yes, there will be uniformed police officers who will be highly visible at the moments we call upon them. But there will be others, less visible or not visible at all, whose work is just as crucial in keeping us safe, and we shouldn’t forget them. Think, for example, of the civilian staff, men and women, who will be in the police call centre over Christmas and who are the first link between us and the service when we dial for help. They too deserve our thanks.
Sadly, for some, Christmas also brings painful memories – of loved ones who are no longer with us. And that includes some families who lose relatives at Christmas as a result of fatal road collisions, sometimes as a result of drivers drinking. The police are always on hand when this happens, but we would sooner they didn’t have to do this at all. I can only hope that those of us who are likely to be driving a car this Christmas will refrain from drinking at all, however much we are pressed by well-meaning friends.
So stay safe, and I wish you all a blessed and happy Christmas.