The death of His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has this week led many of us to reflect on the nature of service to others and duty to a cause larger than any one individual. As much as I knew what an enormous contribution HRH had made to our country, I was unaware of the huge breadth of charities and causes he had championed, such as biodiversity, decades before others had woken to the climate catastrophe.

His greatest contribution, however, was in support of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. This unstinting support for family members is mirrored up and down the country within the police service. As emergency service workers we have been humbled by the support of our communities over the course of the Covid-19 crisis; we’ve received countless letters and cards, meals dropped at police stations and impromptu ‘thanks’ as we go about our work.

The Duke of Edinburgh was the embodiment of ‘service through support’ for Her Majesty The Queen. Whilst HRH may have been the leader of that spiritual army, there are countless friends and family members of our staff at Cleveland Police who display the same ‘service through support’ and my heartfelt thanks goes to them this week.

For every member of Cleveland Police, there will be a support network of friends and family members who, like HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, do their quiet duty in the background. So today, I want to dedicate my blog not to those that work at Cleveland Police, but to the friends and family members of our workforce who have done their bit in silent support and without the praise offered to those working in an emergency service. Their service has been every bit as important as those that work for us. When we talk of a policing family, it really is that; a family, indeed an army of supporters who make our work a little easier than it would otherwise be. They keep the children quiet in the morning whilst our night workers sleep (or try to!), see to children opening Christmas gifts whilst mum or dad are at work keeping others safe or ‘hold the fort’ at important personal events when our staff members are at work and unable to take a day off.

In pre-Covid times, one of the annual highlights for me was the ceremony we held at Cleveland Police to issue our officers and staff members with their long service and good conduct medals. My focus for the evening tended to be not on those being deservedly decorated for their service but on the faces of the family members who would attend. Taking time to thank them became an important part of my work.

This week with the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh, it feels particularly timely to remember all of those that work in quiet service of others.

Mae cydymdeimlad pawb yn Heddlu Cleveland gyda’i Mawrhydi yr wythnos hon.

The thoughts and sympathies of everyone at Cleveland Police are with Her Majesty this week.

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