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Fed leaders renew vaccine demand as new lockdown looms

As the country gets ready for a fresh lockdown, police leaders have launched a petition of parliament calling for frontline officers to be vaccinated.

Police Federation leaders in England and Wales have launched an online petition calling for frontline officers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

John Apter warned the increasing risk to officers from the new strain of COVID-19 means they must be vaccinated and urged the public to go online and sign the petition on the Parliament website.

"We need your support - If you support your 999 workers getting priority to the vaccine (after the most vulnerable and NHS) then please sign this petition," he said.

With the rapid number of new cases being reported, the leader of frontline police in England and Wales said it was vital that the government acted as forces were reporting an increase in people having to isolate.

Mr Apter highlighted the case of a Leicestershire police officer who had been spat at by a suspect who claimed to have the virus.

"One of the many reasons why police officers must be prioritised to receive the COVID vaccine after the most vulnerable in society and NHS workers. These types of attacks have increased against my colleagues, a disgusting and vile act," he said.

His demand gained widespread backing from across the sector. A similar petition was launched on the Welsh parliament website.

Dyfed-Powys Branch secretary Roger Webb said: “I would urge people to sign this petition.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: "This new lockdown reminds us all that our front line police officers should be offered vaccines as a matter of urgency."

Kent Police Federation warned the public its members had also been targeted by offenders.

It said: “The weaponisation of CoVID-19 and the coughing and spitting at officers added another dimension to what was already an unacceptable level of assaults.”

Officers have to be in offices has also inevitably led to an increase in risk of getting the COVID-19. The Metropolitan Police has 1,300 officers self-isolating at the moment.

One anonymous Met officer challenged the government on social media to explain why officers were being left out: "Had a roll around with someone I arrested today, who then proceeded to cough in my face while claiming to have Covid. After my mask had been knocked off. Someone please explain to me why we’re not on the priority list for vaccination?"

Another revealed on social media that colleagues were now self-isolating because they had been in contact with a Special Constable who had the virus and had been moved round departments to make up for shortages.

Senior officers have backed the call for vaccinations joining a united front across the country. South Yorkshire Police Federation’s Chairman said it was “Incredible” that officers are not a priority in the vaccination programme.

Steve Kent said: “It is absolutely essential that frontline police officers are given the same vaccine priority as NHS workers.

We are at the frontline of this pandemic as well. Also any frontline officer will tell you that when our NHS colleagues are under strain, as they frequently are, that they are often expected to attend NHS emergency calls as well.

“This cannot be yet another example of police officers being ignored.”

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