Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said she was “very loud” both publicly and behind the scenes about the case for prioritising the vaccination of officers who were putting themselves at “obvious risk” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on LBC Radio this morning, she admitted that at the height of the pandemic officers were likely to be at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to family members and from call to call.
She said: “I have been very loud behind the scenes about the case that there was for vaccinating police officers – and also publicly. I believe that as a profession my guys and girls were putting themselves at obvious risk. They carried on out on the streets, doing their job, arresting people at the same rate, helping people in exactly the same way as they used to.”
She added that despite the Met’s best efforts to give officers all the safety equipment they needed, “you’re not able to throw on loads of personal protective equipment when you’re running to a street fight or going to help someone who’s in extreme distress”.
The Commissioner continued: “I thought the case was very strong [for vaccines] and in many other countries they did prioritise by occupation. Here, of course, NHS workers and social care workers [were prioritised], and we completely understand, no officer would be saying we should be in front of the queue there. But I felt strongly about my frontline people and I did argue for it.”
She said she felt she had done her best to fight for vaccinations, adding: “I regret every single one of my people who caught COVID, let alone those who died.”
Despite the Government not prioritising officers for the vaccine, the Commissioner said that a lot of frontline officers had been able to receive the vaccine if there was any left over at the end of the day at vaccination centres. She said: “So huge numbers of our officers, even though they’re quite young, are now vaccinated.”