Derbyshire chief constable backs calls for officers to receive vaccination as a priority
Derbyshire Constabulary’s senior leaders are calling on the Government to consider issuing frontline police officers and staff with the Covid-19 vaccination as a priority.
Chief Constable Rachel Swann, joined by police and crime commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock with the request to be considered.
Ms Swann said: “We know that the new variant of Covid-19 is more transmissible and spreading faster than it was previously. The role that the police do means that by necessity, officers and staff are putting themselves at risk every day, often being in close contact with victims or offenders in whatever circumstances they find themselves in. They cannot shy away from doing this, but it also offers an increased risk which should not simply be part of the job.
“Policing and keeping people safe is an essential part of fighting this virus. Officers and staff cannot stay at home; crime still happens and we need to be there to tackle it.
“While there is a regular supply personal protective equipment (PPE), officers and staff are not immune from catching the virus. The vaccine offers additional protection and reassurance for them, not only preventing them from catching the virus but thereby preventing passing it on to others, including their families, colleagues and the public.
“My officers and staff are very aware of what they need to do should they experience symptoms, however for many people they are asymptomatic. Our frontline roles mean we could be unknowingly passing it on to others. Vaccination and regular testing are vital to prevent this.
“We are backing calls from the Police Federation of England and Wales to bring forward vaccinations in policing, once those at greatest risk and NHS staff have been protected.
“The impact of an officer or staff member contracting the virus while on duty, and potentially spreading it to vulnerable people needing our help or across a whole shift, is huge.
“I am asking the Government to bring forward the vaccination plans for frontline policing to allow us to keep our people virus-free, in order to continue to keep the public safe.”
The call for all frontline officers and staff is also backed by Derbyshire’s Unison branch and the county’s branch of the Superintendents’ Association.
Mr Dhindsa said: “I believe that early vaccinations should be given to those officers, and staff, who are working on the front line – that’s those who are coming into contact with members of the public. To do so would provide protection not only to those working in these roles but also to the wider public who came into contact with them.
“It is often said that the police are those who are expected to run towards danger. Never could this be truer than with the unseen adversary we have in the Covid-19 virus.”