North Wales Police Federation rep says officers should get Covid vaccine ‘as a priority’
A North Wales Police Federation rep has said officers should get the Covid vaccine as a priority.
More than 9,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to change the fact that police are not on the priority list to be immunised for Covid-19.
Police forces across the UK are currently experiencing high sickness rates as officers face a greater risk of contracting the virus due to the public facing nature of their jobs.
Mark Jones, general secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, said his colleagues had even been spat at by offenders, raising the potential for them to catch the coronavirus even further.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live this week, he said: “We want to make it really clear we’re not suggesting in any way shape or form that police officers should be prioritised ahead of the very most vulnerable in our communities, and that also stands for our incredible frontline NHS and care workers.
“But there’s three very simple reasons for us in the federation why we think our colleagues should be prioritised.
“Our colleagues cannot mitigate the risk of being exposed to coronavirus while still on duty, and even more so we’re hearing of colleagues who have disgustingly been spat at and coughed on.
“They’re really quite vulnerable, particularly when there’s new variants of the virus, and our colleagues are not immune from this virus. Behind the uniform there really is a human being.
“The second reason is resilience. We’ve got colleagues who are off work with the virus, that are off work sick, that are off work self-isolating and currently the absence rate around the country is around 15% for policing.
“If there’s no police officers available then who is going to attend that 999 call and who’s going to be responsible? It’s really important that the vaccination process is there for police officers.”
Sgt Jones was quizzed on which current group on the priority list he believed police should be placed above.
While he did not specifically state a category, he instead provided further justification for why they should be included somewhere on the list.
He said: “By virtue of what police do, the nature of the role is that we go to many different homes and different locations in the community.
“There’s also a risk that they can also carry the virus with no symptoms and unknowingly pass it on to others.
“Very sadly part of our role is we go into homes where there has been a sudden death in relation to COVID on behalf of the coroner.
“We’ll also go into homes when there’s calls for help from members of the public and when COVID is present within the household.
“We’re going to a lot of incidents, as we do on a daily basis, particularly those with domestic violence cases.
“Again, there’s a really high risk that my colleagues go into these homes with the coronavirus.”
The petition to ministers currently needs just under 1,000 more signatures to be considered for debate in the Senedd.
It can be found by visiting https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244481
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