Chair calls for police to be vaccinated against Covid

19 Jan, 2021

Cheshire Police Federation Chairman Jamie Thompson has been highlighting the challenges Lockdown 3 is bringing to policing and the reality of what our officers’ face as they work to keep people safe from Covid-19.

Jamie said: “It is very clear that the vast majority of the public understand the public health crisis the country are in and are doing their part to help.
“However, the messages given from Government are not clear and leave far too many loopholes. There is also an unhealthy mix of law and guidance which leads to confusion and misunderstanding.”
He added: “The police have been provided hastily prepared legislation and have been told to just get on with it. There are times when enforcement is absolutely the right thing to do, as there are some sections of society who are intent on ignoring the regulations.
“That said, we should never have our ability to engage, encourage and explain taken away from us. There will be times where we get it wrong, just as there are times the public make mistakes or misinterpret the regulations.
“The messages coming out around enforcement need to be more carrot rather than stick as my fear is that if policing is not careful, we could be driving a wedge between the police and the communities.”
Jamie concluded: “Officers are out there every day dealing with general policing, and in addition to that are managing hundreds of interactions due to Covid breaches and deaths in the community. They feel unsafe and vulnerable. All this against a backdrop of increasing numbers of officers catching Covid or having to isolate.
“The magic box of ‘extra’ officers is empty and very soon we will see this pandemic have a real impact on our ability to police, something thankfully in Cheshire we have been able to manage for the past 10 months.
“This is why prioritising frontline police officers for the vaccine is important. We can’t simply turn off policing when we don’t have enough left.

“I urge the Government to consider offering the protections the vaccine brings to frontline officers, not only to safeguard them but also to not reduce the risk to the public they interact with on a daily basis.  “

Jamie Thompson Cheshire Police Federation