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Norfolk Police Federation

"With 140 colleagues currently off with Covid or isolating, it's so important police officers are put on the priority vaccine list"

6 January 2021

The Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation has been on BBC Radio Norfolk highlighting why it’s so important police officers should be on the priority COVID-19 vaccination list – as there are currently 140 colleagues either off sick with the virus or isolating.

Andy Symonds said: “I think it’s important to make clear that what we are asking is not to be put ahead of the vulnerable and NHS workers, but to be the top of the list of the next phase of vaccinations.”

He explained: “Officers have a unique role in policing this pandemic, to protect our community we do have to put ourselves in difficult situations that can’t be mitigated by PPE and masks.

“Therefore, there is a risk that we become super spreaders unknowingly, as we go into people’s homes and get up close when arresting people.”

Andy explained by being on the priority list in the next stage, would mean officers can police to the level in which they can protect the community properly without the risk of spreading the virus and preventing officers from taking sick leave.

He said: “Over the last week we’ve now got around 90 officers off with COVID-19 which marks an increase from the week before where we had 50 officers off.

“Which makes altogether around 140 police staff and officers off at the moment with COVID-19.

“If that continues going upwards there is a risk that we can no longer police to the level we currently are.”

He explained that members of the public are getting fed up with people obviously breaking the rules, meaning “it is now even more important that we are visible to the public and are out and about.”

However, he said: “With this, there is a risk of course that if we’ve got a growing number of officers that are off with COVID and self-isolating, that we can’t be as visible and police to the level that we would want and that our community would want.”