Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has renewed calls for police officers to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine after it emerged our members would be driving ambulances.
75 officers from the capital are undergoing ambulance training so they can convey patients to hospital while the NHS is under intense stress from the pandemic.
Visiting some of these officers yesterday Dame Cressida (60) told BBC London: “I think in order for my people to keep the public safe, they should be prioritised for vaccinations. I find it hard to understand how 32 million people, including people like me and my whole management board, who are aren’t frontline, are going to get a vaccination before my guys and girls, who are on the front line. It doesn’t feel right to me so I am in conversation with Government.”
Since March, there have been 150 incidents where officers have been coughed or spat at and Covid has been mentioned
Dame Cressida added: “Officers are dealing with victims and offenders where they have to get up close and personal and I believe they have been putting themselves at risk and they continue to do so. It is a mission-critical service and we need it to continue to run.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also called on the Government to urgently scale up vaccination in the city.
He said yesterday (13 January): “Our police officers, emergency services and key workers need the Government to protect them by rapidly accelerating the vaccine roll-out.”
Under the Government’s vaccines delivery plan, published on Monday, police officers are not considered a priority group and can be expect to vaccinated according to age or clinical vulnerability.
On Tuesday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that ministers will consider whether key workers such as police, teachers and essential shop staff should be prioritised once the most vulnerable have received the coronavirus vaccine, the Evening Standard reported.
Dame Cressida added: “The plan that was unveiled by the Government on Monday evening, if I’ve read it right, suggests that we’ll have completed the first few cohorts, all going well, by the middle of February.
“There are then a number of other cohorts which will be completed by the spring, and none of those include police officers. My view is that my frontline officers put themselves at risk every day, who have been out there since March last year dealing with unknown situations, who can’t always put on huge amounts of equipment, who go to speak to people or work with people who might be drunk, angry, violent, very upset, who may on occasions spit, bite, sadly be bleeding of course.”