11 February 2021
A number of Welsh politicians have pledged their support for Dyfed Powys Police Federation as it continues to campaign for police officers to be given some priority in the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.
The four Welsh Police Federations joined forces last week and sent an open letter to the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, accusing him of reneging on his commitment to protect officers during the pandemic and of treating them with contempt by refusing to raise them as a priority group.
This was followed just days later by all 43 Federation branches in England and Wales sending another letter to the Governments in Cardiff and Westminster, condemning them for not protecting frontline police officers and staff.
Dyfed Powys Police Federation has written to MPs and Senedd Members in the county to ask them for their support.
Gareth Jones, Federation branch chair, explained: “We approached 17 MPs and MSs and, out of those, nine have so far given us their support as we try to get our members the protection they need. This shows the strength of feeling over this.
“As we told the First Minister last week, this is not about queue jumping and never has been. It is simply about protecting those who go out every day, putting themselves and their families at risk, to protect society.”
The politicians who have offered their support are: Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru; Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire Welsh Conservatives; Craig Williams, Montgomery Welsh Conservatives; Jonathan Edwards, Independent; Neil Hamilton, UKIP; Kirsty Williams, Liberal Democrats; Russell George, Welsh Conservatives; Paul Davies, Welsh Conservatives (Leader of the Group) and Angela Burns, Welsh Conservatives.
Gareth added: “One MP has even joined with English MPs to raise this as a motion in Parliament for consideration. But I’m disappointed and frustrated that we are having to go to such lengths to reassure our members that they are – not only safe – but valued.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel has already publicly called for frontline policing officers and staff to receive some priority in the vaccination programme, rather than purely according to their age, but it is the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that makes the final decision. Its guidance, however, does suggest the police service falls into the ‘frontline worker’ category.