Covid-19 vaccine snub: I implore the Home Secretary and this Government to stand up for police officers
1 March 2021
Covid-19 vaccine snub: I implore the Home Secretary and this Government to stand up for police officers by giving us the protection we deserve now
Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation said "I hold this Government in total contempt on this issue of vaccinations for police officers. They are using the JVCI to hide behind who in my view would change their view if one of all of the members who make up the JCVI spent a shift on patrol with police officers. They would see that officers are attending A&E departments to support our NHS colleagues with patients who are challenging to deal with and require police attendance. We are administering first aid to members of public until ambulances arrive. We are attending mental health units responding to calls for assistance from NHS colleagues who require our support to deal with a whole host matters. Officers have continued to attend and deal with sudden deaths acting on behalf of the coroner, again supporting families of the deceased but also our NHS colleagues, be that paramedics or doctors at the scene. Many of these sudden deaths are as a result of Covid-19.
"All of this work which brings us into contact with our NHS colleagues who’ve been rightly prioritised but as police officers we’ve not been prioritised.
"In addition to all of the risks faced by police officers working closely with our NHS colleagues we also face on a daily basis having to breach social distancing rules to be able to do our jobs. We cannot police from 2 metres away. I have spoken to my colleagues who’ve been spat directly in the face by people who have Covid-19. We cannot police behind a perspex screen, we arrest people who don’t want to be arrested and assault us which inevitably means the little PPE protection we have in the form of a face mask can and does get removed from our faces during these types of incidents.
"This Government has in its gift to allow police officers to be vaccinated. We have 130,000 officers nationally it would not impact whatsoever the current timeline set down by the Government. We see in many other Governments across the world have recognised the special and unique risks police officers face and have and are vaccinating their police officers.
"So I then ask myself why is this Government refusing to act and vaccinate police officers. We’ve seen time and again in the press that they are more than happy to stand up and tell us that we’re doing a fantastic job and they will always support us. Well show this with action! They should have made the decision many weeks ago to vaccinate police officers but it not too late for them to change their mind. I know that the Home Secretary has been advised of and appears to tell us she understands the risks we face in policing this pandemic so therefore I implore the Home Secretary and this Government to stand up for police officers by giving us the protection we deserve now.
"My colleagues currently feel that they are cannon fodder. Being sent out to police without the protection we need to keep us safe while we police our communities. To refuse to move on this is simply another slap in the face to all my colleagues who’ve policed this pandemic with bravery, professionalism, tenacity throughout."