Alison Hume, Labour’s candidate for North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, is calling on the Government to prioritise the vaccination of all first responders. This comes after Dorset Police have revealed one of their officers has been infected with Covid19 after being spat at, just a day after Cambridgeshire Police reported a similar attack.
“The news this morning is shocking,” said Ms Hume. “None of our emergency workers should be exposed to such risk.
“We must protect our protectors. Currently hundreds of blue light workers across the country are off ill or isolating, placing enormous emotional pressure on families as well as creating more problems for the services. It’s clear that our first responders are at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 due to their increased level of exposure with the general public and the lack of regular testing.”
The Police Federation says some forces are reporting up to 15 per cent of their officers are off sick or self-isolating. The Fire Brigades Union reports that 3,000 fire service staff are currently in self-isolation.
“First responders risk their lives every day to keep the public safe,” she continued. “It’s imperative that we ensure the protection and safety of emergency workers’ health while they carry out their jobs on the frontline. We need to limit the risk of officers easily contracting or transmitting COVID-19 to co-workers, their families, and the general public. Vaccinating our emergency responders will help us retain personnel and reduce sick-leave. Critically, it’s important that the public has confidence knowing that first responders have been vaccinated, ensuring public safety.”
Ms Hume went on to say that it’s not in the public interest to have a police force that is seriously debilitated by illness.
“We rely on the police and the fire service to be there when emergencies of all kinds arise – for their safety, the safety of their families and the general public they need to be joining our health workers in being cared for.”