MPS loses five officers and staff to Covid-19 in the space of 15 days

Five serving officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have lost their lives to Covid-19 in recent weeks, the force has revealed.

Jan 27, 2021
By Tony Thompson
PC John Fabrizi

Traffic Police Community Support Officer Chris Barkshire died on Monday, January 11, PC Michael Warren, who was part of the Territorial Support Group, died on January 19, Camden PC John Fabrizi died on January 24 and PC Sukh Singh from the MPS’s forensic command died on January 25.

The most recent death involved a custody sergeant who has yet to be named. He is believed to have died in the early hours of January 26.

MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “I’m deeply saddened by the news that in recent days and weeks Covid has taken five of our colleagues from us. Policing is a family and the scale of our loss is truly shocking. My deepest condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues of Police Constable John Fabrizi, Police Constable Michael Warren, Traffic Police Community Support Officer Chris Barkshire, Police Constable Sukh Singh, and our colleague from Met Detention, who will be named soon.

“They are the most recent Met police victims of this awful virus and we miss them, as we do our three colleagues, Public Access Officer Ramesh Gunamal, police community support officer Charles Harding and call operator Sophie O’Neill, who died last year earlier in the pandemic and who we continue to grieve for.

“Covid has had a devastating impact on so many people across not just in London but the whole country. As this recent awful news shows, policing is not immune and it is inevitable that our officers and staff in fighting crime, responding to emergencies, and just in living within their communities will come into contact with the virus. Police officers and many of our staff cannot fight crime or protect the vulnerable by working at home.”

The news come amid increasing calls for police officers to be given priority access to vaccines. Earlier this week, the chair of Wiltshire Police Federation, Mark Andrews, said: “Being a police officer is a role which is extremely risky, we are out there every day dealing with people, often people who are aggressive towards us and getting within the two-metre isolation zone.

“We need to have protection to be able to do our job, we have stab vests, PAVA spray, Tasers but the only item I’m asking for is the vaccine to protect us from Covid.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described the news as “deeply upsetting”. He added: “Our hardworking and dedicated police officers and staff have been on the front line throughout this pandemic, and I know Londoners will join me in paying tribute to them and offering our support to the Met police family who will be grieving at this difficult and challenging time.

“It’s crucial our key workers, including our emergency services, get the vaccine as swiftly as possible, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to put pressure on the Government to speed up the roll-out so we can protect those who serve to protect us.”

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