One of the UK’s top officers has said she is “baffled” frontline police haven’t been prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine.
Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said officers have repeatedly put themselves at risk during the pandemic and are spat on and coughed at on a daily basis.
“They are putting themselves at risk, they have been for the last year, we try to look after them as best we can,” Dick said.
She said there have been 97 cases where somebody mentioned or threatened COVID and then coughed at an officer and 48 occasions where someone spat, leading to 126 charges – of which two-thirds have resulted in a custodial sentence.
She said the incidents were “quite widespread” and people cough or spit on officers on a daily basis, even though they don’t claim to be infected with coronavirus.
Three of her colleagues, none of which were police officers, have died after being infected with coronavirus, including a community support officer last week.
The commissioner added that she was “really baffled” why police weren’t being put in the same priority as people in their 60s and 50s.
“This is a decision government have made so far on the basis of something called the JCVI, who are experts, but in many other countries police officers and law enforcement colleagues are being prioritised and I want my officers to get the vaccination,” she said.
Government guidance – made through the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – recommends that phase one sees everyone aged over 50, and anyone aged 16 and older with an underlying health condition, be vaccinated.
Dick said she had been given “warmer words” that officers could be jabbed at the beginning of phase two.
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