This letter was received from Sergeant Shaw on 10 August 2023.
Thank you for making contact with the concerns that you and the community understandably have following last night’s incident [when a police party was flown in by helicopter, and, when that was unable to land, arrived on the lifeboat].
You are correct, PC Tanner, who is normally resident on the island was off on holiday. Our usual stance as a Division is to place someone on the island for continuity whilst he is off. You will have seen other officers undertaking this duty in the past and is something that we intend to continue.
Regarding the lack of Officer on the island currently, unfortunately, it is my understanding that we struggled to resource it on this occasion. This was due to a mixture of absences and demands on Policing Teams on the mainland, where we would normally pull the resource from. Due to the nature of the deployment we also need to ensure such an officer has a requisite level of experience to work in isolation, which narrows the pool we can utilise. As a consequence of this, we could not sanction the usual abstraction on this occasion. I apologise for this. Where an abstraction is likely to be more than a week or more we’ll routinely look to ensure someone is on the island. For example, PC Tanner is away for almost 2 weeks later this year and we’re already in the process of looking to ensure an office is out there to cover.
With regards to your last point, it is my understanding that we have no plans to remove the Police presence from the island. As soon as PC Tanner confirms his retirement it is the current intention to immediately review recruitment to ensure a seamless handover to the new post holder, to ensure continuity of service for the island.
I hope this helps to allay any fears the community might have. Should you wish to know anything further, just ask.
Matt Shaw, Sergeant for Partnerships & Management Support