Call for U-turn on police vaccine prioritisation


Police leaders in Cheshire are calling on the government to reconsider its decision to not prioritise police officers for the Covid-19 vaccine.

It's after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has announced today that after over 50s are vaccinated, the roll-out will continue by age group leaving those on the Covid frontline at risk.

Police and crime commissioner David Keane has written to the Prime Minster to call for him to make an urgent U-turn on what he says is a "betrayal" and a "failure to protect dedicated public servants" in a decision that would "never be forgiven".

In letter to the PM he says: "Police officers and staff put themselves and their families at risk everyday by working in close contact with those who may be carrying the virus. But you have let them down by your failure to protect them through the vaccination programme.

"Sadly, at least 22 police officers and staff, including one of our own in Cheshire, have lost their lives to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic and many more have been hospitalised and are still suffering the long-term effects of the disease.

"The risks associated with frontline policing and contracting the virus are grave. The nature of policing means officers have to get up close and personal with members of the public. We're seeing Covid-19 increasingly used as a weapon on our streets with recorded incidents of offenders spitting or coughing at officers increasing. There's been 126 in Cheshire alone since last March.

"Sending our officers into these situations without appropriate protection against Covid-19 is equivalent to sending them into a public disorder incident without riot gear.

"Police and crime commissioners and chief constables have done their bit to ensure officers have access to sufficient PPE but this doesn't provide the sufficient protection needed. Vaccines would do so much more.

"This isn't about police officers jumping the queue. We all need access to the vaccine in order to beat this public health emergency. But it is a failure that your current prioritisation programme puts someone who can work from home as a priority above those serving the public on the frontline.

"This has to be about individual risk. We have a duty of care to protect those who protect our society.

"I urge you to stop betraying our hardworking frontline police officers and staff and reduce the risk of them catching this deadly disease and spreading it vulnerable people in our communities, putting even greater strain on our already stretched public services.

"We need your government to commit to protecting all of our key workers in the same way they have protected our wider communities during this pandemic on behalf of your government."

Cheshire's chief constable Darren Martland has also spoken out about the impact this will have on operational policing across the county: "Chief Constable Darren Martland said: "Police officers and staff, in front line roles, are required to enter different settings and come into contact with people from 'high risk' groups.

"Often, by the very nature of their role, officers and staff are unable exercise social distancing and PPE can be compromised, which is why I would request that police officers and front line staff are prioritised for vaccination, after the elderly and people who are clinically vulnerable."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Chris Jones
Saturday 27th February 2021 at 3:31 pm
Most people have had to go to work during this pandemic, definitely nothing special about the Police. What about people working on tills in supermarkets, or when schools are back, teachers and catering staff who are in contact with hundreds of people daily.
If the Police want to complain, when there’s two of them in a car they want to start learning to wear a mask.
Vince Chadwick
Sunday 28th February 2021 at 7:03 pm
It is being done as it should be - in order, by age and infirmity. However a couple of occupational groups seem to want to queue-jump despite the fact that under the medically-devised system we are using the older and more infirm in those occupational groups will in any case be vaccinated ahead of their younger and less vulnerable colleagues.

So if someone jumps the queue it will be at the expense of someone else nearer the front of the queue who, if they get infected, will be more vulnerable to serious illness or even death than is the queue jumper.

That cannot be right.
Alan Brough
Sunday 28th February 2021 at 8:21 pm
@ Chris Jones,

The Police very often, as part of their work, find themselves dealing with the lowest common denominator aspect of society.

Statistically, that element of society are more likely to have contracted covid ( and worse) and, whilst they may come into daily contact with school teachers and supermarket workers, the circumstances of their interface with Police services often changes their behaviour to quite an alarming degree.

Personally, I am grateful to the Police for doing a generally good job in very (very) difficult circumstances.

They are often wrong but, at the end of the day, if I’m in peril, it’s unlikely to be you that comes to my aid and so I’m going to support the rank and file Police Officers and support them getting vaxed asap
Chris Jones
Monday 1st March 2021 at 5:23 pm
I disagree on, everywhere there are people flouting the rules and anybody has the chance of coming into contact. So no to the police queue jumping, they are nothing special and yes to those who most need it.
I personally don’t think they do a good job in fact I find them extremely poor. They’ve proved it recently with the travellers around Wilmslow and Alderley village this weekend.
Chris Jones
Monday 1st March 2021 at 6:10 pm
I disagree on, everywhere there are people flouting the rules and anybody has the chance of coming into contact. So no to the police queue jumping, they are nothing special and yes to those who most need it.
I personally don’t think they do a good job in fact I find them extremely poor. They’ve proved it recently with the travellers around Wilmslow and Alderley village this weekend.
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 11:22 am
Vince and Alan

I am told that the Alderley Edge Parish Council may be increased from 9 members to 12,
If so might you guys feel like having a go?
I'm being serious; no irony etc. intended.
You seem to be right-thinking guys. I'd by happy to propose either/both of you.
I did it so why not you?
Yes it takes up time. Yes you'll be insulted. Yes you may be able to get improvements.
David Hadfield
Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 12:26 pm
I'm with Alan Brough on this one.
The police do an immensely important job and they very often put their lives at risk when getting stuck into a yob or a group of yobs whilst trying to uphold the law.
They very often have to get close up to some drunken guy who may even be spitting at them so we should allow them to get to the front of the queue when it comes to vaccinations.
Of course the police do stupid things from time to time. They're only human (believe it or not) but at the end of the day, this country would be a no go area without them.
They are our very last line of defence regarding keeping law and order in the UK.
Duncan Herald
Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 9:47 am
David H.

Nicely put !
Chris Jones
Friday 12th March 2021 at 1:44 am
Hands Face Space, they can wear a visor.
No different than walking into the supermarket and somebody sneezing.
Pete Taylor
Friday 12th March 2021 at 4:04 pm
@ Chris Jones: do you think that this:

is just like walking into a supermarket?
Jon Williams
Friday 12th March 2021 at 5:46 pm
The path to become a police officer is fairly straightforward. However, it will take dedication, stamina, and time to enter this competitive field. The testing and training is designed to ensure that you're prepared for the risk and responsibility that comes with this career.
The duration of the training in the Police Academy varies for the different agencies. It usually takes about 13 to 19 weeks on average but can last up to six months.
Chris Jones
Friday 12th March 2021 at 9:18 pm
Pete Taylor
Get a grip you know exactly what I’m saying.
Round of applause though, for the link that doesn’t work
Pete Taylor
Saturday 13th March 2021 at 10:39 pm
@Chris Jones, did you miss my question?
Alan Brough
Sunday 14th March 2021 at 3:54 pm
@Pete Taylor,

Your video gives a good example of exactly the sort of intervention that I was referring to.

Anyone seeing that and concluding that Police Officers should wait their turn is clearly working to a different agenda.

Add Your Comment

Share what you think of this story. In order to post a comment click here to sign in or register to become a member (it's free and will only take one minute).