Covid vaccine priority: Police officers 'just asking to be safe'

  • 2021-03-24
  • 1485

Police protection

More than 4,000 emergency workers have been assaulted in Wales over the last 20 months, she added.

"Sometimes Covid has been used as a weapon. I understand without question the need for the vulnerable to be vaccinated, but at this stage where the wider community is being vaccinated, I feel very strongly that front-line policing should be vaccinated," she said.

Ch Con Kelly added that out of a 1,400 strong workforce, just 140 have had the vaccine - based purely on their age or vulnerability.

But as crime dropped around 15%, demand for policing increased significantly, she said.

Chief Constable Pam Kelly said it has been one of her biggest concerns during the crisis.

The Gwent Police boss agreed that NHS staff and the vulnerable should come first, but she wanted greater protection for her staff.

The Welsh Government said there is insufficient evidence to support vaccination by occupation.

Police officers often attend the same scenes as health workers but are the only ones not vaccinated, said Ch Con Kelly.

"We salute NHS staff, they've been outstanding. But often you will get an ambulance worker, health worker and police officer at the same scene," she said.

"When there's a violent person, police officers are there trying to protect the health workers - yet it's the police officer that's not vaccinated.

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"It's a real concern for me. It's all about having enough emergency workers to respond to 999 and 101 calls and the vaccination for police officers would have been a really strong voice in saying we're grateful for what you've done.

"They're not asking for money - all we're asking for is for our officers to be safe."

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