7 January 2021
The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation has called for officers to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine during an interview with the BBC.
Roger Webb told the BBC officers are putting their own health, and that of loved ones, at risk by policing the pandemic and should be on the priority list.
Officers have been attacked by offenders who’ve weaponised the virus by spitting and coughing on them.
Roger said it was right that NHS and care staff are due to be among the first to be vaccinated against the coronavirus but said police should be among the other priority groups.
A petition has been set up calling on the Welsh Government to ensure police officers are prioritised as the vaccines are rolled out.
Roger said: “It is not about unfairly prioritising police officers over everyone else, we understand the need for the most vulnerable and frontline health service staff to be right at the top of the list for the new vaccines. But the reality is that the police come into contact with every part of society, the good and the bad.
"To not prioritise police officers is a mistake made in vain of protecting the public,” he told the BBC.
The petition was set up by Graham Bishop, the father of a police officer who contracted Covid-19 while arresting a member of the public. His son passed on the virus to his heavily pregnant wife who ended up in a Covid ward in hospital.
Graham said: “Not only are police at high risk to themselves every day, they also risk their families. Additionally, the loss of policing time is a great strain on the force when officers are off sick with Covid.”
The petition needs to reach the 10,000 signature mark to spark a debate in the Senedd, and currently has more than 7,500 names to it.
Roger added: “I would urge people to sign this petition so that this issue can be discussed in the Welsh Parliament.”