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26 February 2021
Today’s (26 February) announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on phase 2 of the Coronavirus vaccination programme has been branded ‘a deep and damaging betrayal that will not be forgotten’ by the National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, after the plans did not include any provision for police officers.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said: “This announcement shows a complete lack of understanding about policing this pandemic and is an utter betrayal of police officers. My colleagues have been on the frontline since the first national lockdown last March, risking infection and even death to keep the public safe.
“Together with others across policing, we have never said police officers should jump the queue but should be prioritised. It’s right that the most vulnerable and health and care workers were vaccinated; but what about police officers who cannot mitigate against the risks of contracting and spreading this deadly virus? Yet the calls to prioritise policing have been ignored.
“The very nature of policing is unpredictable and means my colleagues often cannot socially distance. They are going into people’s homes, going into hospitals, and having to get up close and personal when helping people or making an arrest.
“Many officers are reporting sick or self-isolating and our numbers are falling, sometimes dangerously low. We have also lost a number of colleagues to this virus too. Yet the Government continue to hide behind the science of the JCVI. What about a moral duty to my colleagues and their families?
“Giving police officers the vaccine would not only protect them and their families but also help prevent the spread of this virus.
“We are sick of warm words and no action by our political leaders who have demanded so much from policing during this pandemic. We will now explore every possible avenue open to us to protect our members from this deadly virus and this complacent government.”