Source: United Kingdom National Police Chiefs Council
Hosted by Thames Valley Police (TVP), the national PPE hub was set up in April 2020 as the pandemic took hold in the UK. A small team, led by Superintendent Hannah Wheeler, stepped up to manage the hub on behalf of national policing and took control of sourcing, procuring and distributing supplies of PPE. These included various types of masks, gloves, goggles, coveralls and anti-bacterial hand gel supplied to police forces across the UK, including the British Transport Police, the Ministry of Defence Police, PSNI, Police Scotland and the law enforcement agencies in British Overseas Territories.
The hub was set up as part of the national police response to Coronavirus, Operation Talla, and will continue to run until at least the end of 2021.
The Op Talla PPE team were initially responsible for sourcing and purchasing the PPE for forces whilst the wider focus was on supplying the NHS and care workers. However, the PPE for policing is now supplied by the Department for Health and Social Care but it is still delivered to the national hub, broken down and re-distributed by force on a monthly basis.
The 70 million pieces of equipment, weighing a total of more than 2,000 tonnes, equivalent to approximately 160 double decker buses, has been dealt with by a team of six dedicated TVP officers at the site. Together they have worked to process every pallet arriving into the hub. Officers have photographed, catalogued, unpacked and then re-packed the supplies for forward distribution to forces.
The team have also devised a national PPE dashboard to track usage, consumption and orders in and out of each force and issued guidance on the correct use of PPE.
Superintendent Hannah Wheeler, in charge of the day-to-day running of the Operation Talla PPE Hub, said:
“I am so proud of the team of officers from Thames Valley Police who have worked tirelessly to ensure that PPE continues to reach the frontline right across UK policing and I am very grateful to the force for supporting national policing in this way.
“We have been able to supply PPE throughout the pandemic and continue to have ample supplies of PPE to protect officers and staff. We are prepared to run the operation for as long as is necessary because it’s critical that PPE continues to be worn, as staff can still catch or transmit the virus, even if they are part or fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I appreciate how challenging it is to work on the frontline during the pandemic and want to reassure staff that we will provide every protection we can. I would ask officers and staff to stick with it and to remember that every day they are protecting lives and helping to stop the spread of the virus. “