I know that many of you will have already read issue 13 of Under Cover and the report on the NCOA’s response to COVID-19.
It is now apparent that the second wave infections of COVID-19 are again creating challenges for the NCA and placing strain on our members. This time without a national lockdown as part of the response, the agency has reverted to a more nuanced and geographical approach. The recent spike in COVID-19 outbreaks at the NWH is of particular concern to the NCOA, especially as the agency cannot reliably measure the number of officers attending this site at any one time and the effectiveness of the agency’s own track and trace procedures remain unproven.
Yesterday, I wrote formally to Senior Leaders in the agency (see below) and recommended that whilst Warrington remains in a Tier 2 High Risk area, it is designated as though it is in Tier 3 (very high risk), thereby allowing those who can, to return to working for home. I also asked that the agency now reduce the training that is undertaken at the NWH to only that which is essential.
DD HR [named]
National Crime Agency
1-6 Citadel Place,
SE11 5EF 22nd October 2020
NCOA concerns regarding spike in COVID-19 cases at NWH.
You will be aware that the NCOA have been consistent in raising concerns on the supposed heightened footfall at the NWH. This has now been exacerbated by a recent spike of positive COVID-19 cases at this site.
In the next few days, whilst the NWH will remain a Tier 2 (High Risk) site, it will be surrounded almost exclusively by Tier 3 (Very High Risk) areas. The likelihood will be that the majority rather than a minority of officers who work there will live in Tier 3 areas.
The NCOA welcomed the recent message from DG Ops [named] on the NCA response to the 3 Tier COVID system in England, there is now though a somewhat confusing scenario for NCA officers, who work at the NWH. To reduce not only confusion but also pro-actively deal with the increasing number of COVID-19 outbreaks at the NWH, the NCOA ask that the NWH is now treated as it were a Tier 3 (Very High-Risk area) site.
This positive step by the agency would mean that only those who need to will be attending the NWH. With more officers working from home, this will reduce the overall footfall and impact on communal areas. In line with this recommendation, we ask that the agency further scrutinise the need to continue to run physical training courses at the NWH at this time.
I ask that this proposal is forwarded to [named and [named] in order that it could be enacted by the 26th October 2020. The NCOA will be sharing this recommendation and the agency response with its members based at the NWH.
I look forward to receiving your response.
You will be kept updated on the agency’s response.
National Officer - NCOA