'They face daily risks' - Calls for Covid jabs for police grow

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green. - Credit: Archant

Police officers should be moved to the top of the queue to get their coronavirus jabs as soon as possible, two leading representatives have said. 

Lorne Green, police and crime commissioner for Norfolk, and Andy Symonds, Norfolk Police Federation chairman, have called on the government to ensure all British police, including Norfolk's 1,700 officers, are protected from virus.

Mr Green said: "The police face daily risks and they're prepared to stand in harm's way to keep us safe. There are reports of police being spat upon and coughed upon, and I think they deserve to be put right at the top of the vaccination priority."

Nurse Maria Alexiou preparing a Covid-19 vaccination at the new mass vaccination centre at Connaught

There have been fresh calls for police to receive coronavirus vaccinations. Here, nurse Maria Alexiou prepares a Covid jab at the vaccination centre at Connaught Hall in Attleborough. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Green said there was a perception vaccinating some professions ahead of others was unfeasible because doctors' surgeries did not keep a record of people's jobs.

But he said: "We know who the police are so it wouldn't be that difficult."

Mr Symonds said he was "flabbergasted" and "angry" that police had not yet received their jabs.

He said: "I hold this government in contempt on the matter of vaccinating police officers. They have given us lots of platitudes for enforcing these Covid laws, but when asked to protect these cops going out and doing their job they've refused to do so.

"Our NHS colleagues have quite rightly been given the vaccine, but we are standing next to them without being given that protection and that cannot be right."

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds. Picture: Police Federation

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds. Picture: Police Federation - Credit: Police Federation

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Mr Symonds said the lack of vaccinations for police was contrary to the idea of a police covenant, which the government plans to introduce to protect police officers and staff and recognise their service and sacrifice. 

An online petition calling on first responders, including police officers to be prioritised, in the rollout received almost 68,000 signatures. 

The government said in response: "First responders who are healthcare professionals are prioritised in the first phase of the vaccination roll-out. Police officers, and those serving in the fire service, are not currently prioritised for vaccination in Phase 1 and there are no plans to deviate from the advice set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

"We thank the first responders for all the incredible work they have been doing throughout the pandemic, and we are working hard to ensure everyone who has been clinically prioritised to receive a vaccine will have access to a vaccine as soon as possible."