Derbyshire Police Federation

Derbyshire MPs urged to back officers in jab roll-out programme

9 February 2021

The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation is urging the county’s MPs to push for prioritisation of police officers in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

In a letter written to all Derbyshire MPs, Tony Wetton has asked for their help to get police officers prioritised in the next stage of the jab programme.

His plea comes after health secretary Matt Hancock said police officers would not be considered until groups one to nine had been vaccinated, during a televised Government update on Monday (7 February) evening. 

“You will understand the bitter disappointment felt by police officers when they heard the health secretary announce that they will not be considered until groups one to nine have been vaccinated,” said Tony.

“Police officers need to be vaccinated as a priority to ensure that they are at work in sufficient numbers to keep communities safe and so that they are not inadvertently spreading the virus to the people they are trying to help.”

Tony, who is 53, has also highlighted the fact that in line with the current vaccine programme, he will be given priority over his younger frontline colleagues due to his being in the over-50s category. 

“We want to see everyone safe from the virus and life to return as quickly as possible, but it cannot be right that I should be considered a higher priority than my frontline colleagues, who have no choice but to deal with whatever we ask them to,” he adds.

He explains that the work of an officer means they often have to deal with individuals who have the virus, which means putting their own health and safety, along with their families, at risk. 

“They cannot protect their communities at a distance of two metres. Derbyshire Police have done an outstanding job of supplying Personal Protective Equipment to officers and staff throughout the pandemic, but disposable masks and gloves are not sufficient protection when social distancing cannot be maintained,” says Tony.

“There is also the risk to your constituents of having police officers inadvertently acting as super-spreaders while trying to help them.”

With so many officers having to self-isolate, Tony says that there remains a huge concern for the health of the Force, as well as the worry of exposing their families to the virus. 

“The operational impact of losing numbers of frontline officers to self-isolation after a positive contact has been very challenging of late in terms of maintaining the high level of service you rightly expect for your constituents.” Tony adds.

Speaking about the current vaccine programme, Tony draws attention to the fact that any ‘spare’ vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable.

“Derbyshire Police and Derbyshire Police Federation fully support this. It is absolutely right and will save many lives, while reducing the pressure on our NHS colleagues,” he says,

“However, we understood it to be that once those most at risk were protected, the frontline police officers would be protected as a priority.”

He has asked MPs to support his call for action. 

 

 

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