Officers 'left waiting for scraps from table' with vaccine rollout
- Credit: Ian Burt
The chairman of Norfolk Police Federation has praised the work of officers during the pandemic in light of being faced with a pay freeze and no place in the vaccination queue.
Andy Symonds has questioned why all NHS and social care workers have been vaccinated, but not police officers.
He said the refusal to prioritise officers for the vaccine because it may delay the rollout was "rubbish" and believed the forces could administer the vaccine internally without impacting others.
Mr Symonds said: "We've been left to what feels like waiting for scraps from the table in terms of spare vaccines.
"I can only thank our NHS colleagues in various GP surgeries and some vaccine hubs - they themselves can't quite believe police officers have not been prioritised. They have been fantastic in making calls into our control room, offering us spare vaccines."
He also said police forces had budgeted for a two pc pay rise this year, which was now not going ahead, despite the service officers had given during the last year.
"It's another slap in the face for officers," Mr Symonds said. "Therefore, if we are not to be given a fair pay rise, then it is only right that officers should receive some form of financial thanks for their immense response to this pandemic."
Posting on the Norfolk Police Federation Facebook page, Mr Symonds praised his colleagues for their dedication and bravery during the pandemic.
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He referred to the challenges officers had been faced with including a lack of PPE at the start of the pandemic, and a 21pc increase in assaults on officers during the first three months of the global crisis.
Mr Symonds added: "My colleagues hold a unique role in society, unlike any other. They cannot police from two metres away. We are being coughed and spat at by people who have the virus."
He said policing work such as searches for missing people, protecting domestic abuse victims and support for those in mental health crisis continued despite the extra demand placed on officers at this time.
Mr Symonds also hailed the work of detective colleagues who dealt with "high risk all day, every day".