'Less than a fifth' of police officers and staff have received Covid-19 jab
Fewer than 20 per cent of police officers and staff in England and Wales have received their Covid-19 vaccine, it has been claimed.
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) did not publish precise figures but said it had become clear in “operational meetings” that less than a fifth had been given the vaccination.
Latest figures from the Government suggest that around half of adults in the UK have had their first jab.
National chair of the PFEW John Apter said: “While we all hope we are seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic, the threat is far from over. This horrible virus continues to claim many lives.
“And yet my colleagues are expected to carry out frontline policing roles, going hands-on with the public, in many cases being spat at, coughed at and bitten by people who claim to carry the virus. Despite this, police officers have not been prioritised for the vaccine. We are angry and frustrated at that lack of protection. It feels like a betrayal by the Government.”
The PFEW represents more than 120,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector.
It is one of a number of police bodies that have expressed anger over frontline officers not being prioritised for vaccines.
In January, figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council showed a rise of four per cent in the number of attacks on police officers, including suspects spitting and threatening them with Covid-19 infection.
A poll by the PFEW published the same month suggested around one in three officers had been threatened with deliberate Covid-19 infection by members of the public in the last six months.
Mr Apter added: “Fewer than 20 per cent of officers and police staff have been vaccinated to date. At the same time, they are still facing vile individuals who seek to weaponise the virus.
“The risk to police officers, in doing what they are expected to do, is very real. Many have been struck down by this wicked and indiscriminate virus. We have lost a number of colleagues, while others are suffering from the effects of long Covid.”