Frontline police officers need vaccine priority if they are to keep the public safe, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has emphasised.
Ken Marsh was talking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday evening.
Ken Marsh said: “This is not about queue jumping and it’s not about going before the first top four tiers. Let me make that very clear because I’ve pushed this for the last four weeks and started the ball rolling. It is about showing a modicum of respect to my colleagues who are put in a position that no one else is put in. I’m not saying for one minute they’re dying by their tens or dozens because they’re not. They’re fit and healthy. But they’re getting sick, they’re getting ill, they’re being off work. We’ve got over 2,000 officers as I speak, those numbers are increasing.”
Boris Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions this week (20 January) that police officers, teachers, carers, and other key workers should be vaccinated “as soon as possible”. But as it stands, there are 32 million people ahead of them in the queue.
Ken said that this was a danger to public safety, warning of “anarchy and problems on the streets”.
He called for common sense, adding: “Let get out and prescribe the vaccine to my colleagues, especially the vulnerable ones who are 50+ officers, we’ve got lots of them, and let’s protect them. Let’s show them the modicum of respect.
“We are only talking about 40 or 50,000 frontline officers. Nationally we are jabbing 380,000 people a day. We’re talking about a very small amount. We’re also talking about, when you actually look at your listings of people who are turning up, there are a lot who can’t make it, can’t come for that day. My cops can get out there 24 hours. You tell them where to go, they’ll be there.”
Earlier this week the Home Secretary said that she had told Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to “get ready” to vaccinate officers, but she did not say when that would happen. The Commissioner said she was “baffled” as to why police officers have not been prioritised for the vaccine.