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21 January 2021
A swift vaccine roll out is needed for the police as more and more officers fall ill with Covid-19, Wiltshire Police Federation has said.
Mark Andrews, Federation Chair, was speaking after the Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “working to achieve” vaccine priority for police officers and called on Chief Officers to “get ready” for it – although she did not say when this would be.
A number of high-profile politicians and police leaders – including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick - have now voiced support for the campaign. Boris Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (20 January) that police officers, teachers, carers, and other key workers should be vaccinated "as soon as possible”.
Mark said: “I have listened with interest the comments from the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Commissioner Cressida Dick all supporting prioritisation of vaccination of the police. This is something we have been pushing for since the great news of vaccine was released and I can only hope these words are swiftly turned to action.
“Our officers are used to putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, this is something we sign up for as we are committed to making our communities safer places to live. We train our people to reduce the risk, and provide them with personal protection equipment to ensure we have done all we can to protect the protectors; vaccination would be our stab vest against Covid.
“We are seeing more of our officers testing positive and the mental anguish of taking this back to their families, or possibly doing so, is causing extreme stress and anxiety.
“When an officer isolates it puts additional pressure on the team who have to fill the gaps; it means cancelled rest days and longer hours and ultimately ill officers. It’s vicious circle which a vaccine can stop. Supportive words are great but a swift vaccine roll out is what is required. We can’t wait until the initial round of priorities is complete.”
Currently officers will have to wait until around 32 million Britons have had the job, according to the vaccine delivery plan. But the Home Secretary has told the NPCC and the Met to “get ready” for this “massive logistical task”.