Met chief 'baffled' that frontline officers are not vaccine priority

Met police chief Dame Cressida Dick is ‘baffled’ that frontline officers have not been prioritised for Covid jabs

  • Met’s police chief revealed there have been 48 spitting attacks on police officers
  • Further 97 incidents where someone threatened Covid-19 and coughed at police
  • Dame Cressida said PCs who can’t dress in full PPE are putting themselves at risk

The Met’s police chief Dame Cressida Dick has said she is baffled that frontline police officers have not been prioritised for the Covid vaccine. 

The commissioner revealed that three colleagues, none of whom were police officers, have died after contracting Covid-19, including a police community support officer last week.

Speaking on an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, she said she is ‘baffled’ as to why frontline officers are not closer to the front of the queue to receive the vaccine.

‘In cohorts five to nine, you have people in what I might call my age groups and I am baffled really why, but obviously this is a decision that the Government’s made so far on the basis of something called the JVCI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), who are experts.

‘But in many other countries, police officers and law enforcement colleagues are being prioritised and I want my officers to get the vaccination.’

Dame Cressida said there have been 97 incidents where someone has mentioned or threatened Covid before coughing at an officer, with 48 spitting attacks.

The Met’s police chief Dame Cressida Dick has said she is ‘baffled’ that frontline police officers have not been prioritised for the Covid vaccine as they have been ‘putting themselves at risk’

Some 126 people have been charged, with nearly two-thirds receiving a custodial sentence. 

She added it was not possible for officers to dress in full protective clothing and PPE.

‘They are putting themselves at risk, they have been for the last year,’ Dame Cressida said.

The Commissioner said she was asking the Government to review the vaccine rollout process.

It follows her repeated calls for police officers to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine made earlier this month.

She told BBC London: ‘I find it hard to understand how 32 million people, including people like me and my whole management board, who are aren’t frontline, are going to get a vaccination before my guys and girls, who are on the front line.

‘It doesn’t feel right to me so I am in conversation with Government.’

Her comments were echoed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who tweeted earlier this month: ‘Our police officers, emergency services and key workers need the Government to protect them by rapidly accelerating the vaccine roll-out.’ 

Dame Cressida said police have been spat and coughed at. Pictured: PCs on patrol in Hackney

Yesterday Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said people who come into close contact with the public ‘through no fault of their own’ should be considered for priority access.

His comments mean more than half a million police officers and teachers could jump the vaccine queue if they are given priority in phase two of the roll-out.

But any decision to give such a large number of people priority could be controversial, as it would leave others waiting much longer.

The decision will be taken by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

At present, they have just outlined ‘phase one’ of the roll-out, which covers everyone over 50, people with clinical vulnerabilities, care home residents and NHS and social care staff.

That should be completed by early spring, and the JCVI are now deciding who should be top of the list in phase two.

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