Vaccinating police officers should be a ‘priority’

A Wiltshire councillor has called for a faster roll-out of vaccines to police officers – as “protecting those who protect us must be a priority.”

Jonathon Seed, who is standing to become the next Police & Crime Commissioner in Wiltshire and Swindon, wants the “highest levels of protection” for the force.

In England, all frontline health and social care workers have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine.

But an independent report from a government advisory panel, published earlier this month, suggested that “occupational vaccination” should be addressed as part of a second phase.

At the meeting of the Police and Crime Panel today (January 7) Cllr Seed spoke about the need to ensure that those on the frontline are protected with the vaccine.

Cllr Seed, who represents Summerham and Seend, said: “We have a responsibility to make sure that police officers and staff who are not able to work in a COVID-secure way are protected by the vaccine. I want every officer who is working on the frontline to have that protection. Protecting those who protect us must be a priority.

“We know that there are officers and staff who are in harm’s way because of the frontline role that they carry out. Roles such as response officers or working in our custody suites. Criminals don’t respect social distancing requirements, they don’t care about health and safety and we have heard of too many instances where officers have been spat at, coughed at and deliberately targeted by people who want to do them harm by spreading the virus.

“I want the highest levels of protection for those officers who spend their days and nights keeping our communities safe and I am pleased that the Policing Minister is listening to the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Police Federation about protecting our frontline with the vaccine.

” I continue to be inspired by the dedication of Wiltshire Police Officers and the way they have stepped up to police the restrictions brought in as a result of the need to curb the spread of this deadly virus.”

His call comes after Wiltshire Police chief constable Kier Pritchard also made the case for police officers receiving vaccines as a priority.

He said officers had put themselves in harm’s way, sometimes “almost blind as to whether or not there was a risk”.

He told the Swindon Advertiser: “I think there’s a real case for saying that all frontline workers should be prioritised.

“My officers and staff throughout this pandemic have put themselves in harm’s way.

“They do that every single day.”

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