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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Chair criticises Government over failure to prioritise officer for Covid jabs

9 June 2021

The national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has told the Home Secretary he felt ‘a deep sense of betrayal by Government’ when officers were not given any priority in the roll-out of the Covid vaccination programme.

John Apter welcomed 1,100 delegates to the 2021 ‘Policing Under Pressure’ themed annual national Federation conference and gave a keynote address to delegates in front of Home Secretary Priti Patel.

He said to Ms Patel: “You said you understood and indicated that my colleagues would be prioritised for the vaccine in Phase 2 of the vaccination roll-out. But then, for a number of reasons that still baffle me today, this wasn’t progressed, warm words became lame actions and the result is that that my colleagues feel a deep sense of betrayal by Government.”

John also spoke about recruitment and retention, the Police Covenant and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill but said it was imperative that those who assault police officers ‘feel the full force of the law’. He also paid tribute to fallen officers over the last 12 months.

The national chair also criticised the Government for putting a freeze on officer pay, particularly when the police service had been on the forefront of the response to the pandemic.

Ms Patel said her support for the police was ‘guaranteed’ and evidenced how she had worked with the Federation but said she was aware the service’s faith in any Home Secretary ‘is earned and under constant review’.

She was particularly critical of those who weaponised Covid or assaulted officers in any way, and of the social media vilification of the police, saying: “I will not let the police be subjected to trial by social media, that’s why I have backed the Federation’s call for forces to share body-worn video footage to counter highly selective, and misleading video clips uploaded onto social media. 

“I want forces to be more proactive in sharing body-worn video footage to highlight the fantastic work of their officers, to build public confidence, and to correct harmful misinformation circulating online.”

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government was backing policing in a video address to conference.

Kit Malthouse, policing minister, also took part in a debate about Policing Under Pressure with a panel that also included Sir Thomas Winsor, the chief inspector at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

There was a tribute to bravery award nominees and the Women in Policing Award was presented to Avon and Somerset Chief Inspector Sharon Baker.






September 2022