10 February 2021
Our National Chair John Apter told LBC this morning that police officers could and should be added to the priority list of those receiving the Covid vaccine.
Speaking to presenter Nick Ferrari about the Federation’s open letter to Government, where we set out the risks to police officers of contracting the virus and spreading it to their colleagues, family and other vulnerable people they deal with, Mr Apter said: “Policing is a unique occupation, especially in these tough times.”
He explained: “In the prioritisation list, which is one to nine, there has to be a consideration for police officers. My colleagues are expected to get up close and personal with people, many of whom will have this horrible virus, many of whom are spitting and coughing in the faces of officers.”
The Federation accepts that the most vulnerable in society must be prioritised, and NHS colleagues, but there could and should be a place for policing within the first phase. Indeed, at the current rate of immunisation (around 400,000 a day on average) it would be possible to vaccinate all police officers in England and Wales in under a day.
Mr Apter added: “We were led to believe that by the February 15 there would be a consideration for police officers to be slotted in. Because of the numbers we are vaccinating, we could vaccinate all 130,000 of my colleagues and it would not detract from the timeline.
“Despite what has been expected of police officers, and with assaults against them up by over 30 per cent – being spat at and coughed at in the face by people saying ‘I hope you die of Covid’ – despite that increasing dramatically month on month, the Health Secretary has said police officers would not be considered until at least May – that cannot be right.”