There are different types of face-to-face meetings – and of course, any kind of face-to-face meeting depends on not having a pandemic in full force. You might have Committee drop-ins or something equivalent to ‘parish surgeries’ – an opportunity for anyone to drop in and discuss the issues that are concerning them. I’m not sure drop-ins without a focus work especially well – public consultations and debates on specific topics tend to be much more effective at engaging people – but if you find them helpful, then by all means organise and/or attend them.
The other kind of face-to-face meeting is when a constituent wants to meet with you in person, rather than discussing an issue by phone or email. You don’t have to say yes to meeting anyone face-to-face, especially if you are concerned about your safety in doing so. When you start in the States, you’ll be given some guidance about ‘lone working’ – if you do decide to meet up with someone you don’t know, take precautions to keep yourself safe. Make sure someone knows where you are. Organise a meeting in a public place – if the discussion is not too private – or book a room in a States’ building, preferably with a window in the door so others could see if the situation suddenly escalated.
Guernsey is a very safe place, and most people are completely decent and well-intentioned, but the nature of being a politician is that sometimes you’ll meet people who hate you ‘just because’ (because they don’t like your face or they don’t like your ideals, and you’re a public figure, so you don’t have to be shown any grace) and sometimes you’ll help people through the most complicated and distressing times in their lives. Even in Guernsey, people can be unpredictable, and emotions can run high. It is always wise to be careful.