A police leader has called on the Prime Minister to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure officers get priority access to Covid-19 vaccines as many go off work sick.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said rank and file officers urgently needed the ‘protection they deserve’ as more were off ill or self-isolating.
Mr Apter has called for officers to be prioritised after society’s most vulnerable groups and NHS workers have been given the jab.
He said in a statement: ‘It’s time for the Prime Minister to do the right thing for police officers in the thick of this pandemic.
‘I am calling on him to back my colleagues in their time of need.
A police officer wears a face mask as he stands on the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on June 15, 2020
‘This is certainly not about jumping the queue in front of the most vulnerable members of society or those on the NHS frontline.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales
‘It’s about ensuring policing is resilient enough to cope with the demands of the pandemic and that my colleagues can continue to support the public during these exceptional times.’
Mr Apter said he had lobbied the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) over the issue and it had been raised directly with the Government but no decision has been made.
He called for Boris Johnson to make a decision immediately. In a letter to NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt, Mr Apter said: ‘If we expect police officers to continue to police in the way that we do then it’s essential they are given the protection they deserve.
‘Getting hands on and working in close contact with members of the public is often unavoidable.
‘This creates a risk, not only for our members and the public they are dealing with, but also for the officers’ families.’
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told LBC radio it was ‘quite absurd’ police were not currently prioritised, saying increasing numbers of officers were off work ill after dealing with groups of people who had Covid-19.
A man is given a face mask to wear after being issued with a fine by a TfL Transport Support and Enforcement Officer in the presence of a BTP officer at King’s Cross station, London
It comes amid calls for ambulance workers to also be prioritised for vaccination. David Davis, a spokesman for the College of Paramedics, told BBC Radio 4’s PM: ‘The bit that is really worrying for us is that quite often these paramedics and other ambulance staff are in the back of these ambulances with patients with Covid, with very high levels of viral load, and the risk to them is also extremely high.
‘We need to protect the staff we’ve got and that’s why the college is calling on the Government to make sure we can access vaccination for ambulance service staff who are there at the front line in those ambulances with patients who are terribly poorly with Covid.
‘It is certainly the case that ambulance staff, in our opinion, should be prioritised.’
National guidelines say that health and social care workers, older care home residents and the over 80s should be the first to be vaccinated followed by frontline health workers
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