Hundreds of Devon and Cornwall police officers off work due to Covid-19

More than 200 frontline officers from Devon and Cornwall Police are currently off work because of Covid-19.

Hundreds of police officers and staff working for Devon and Cornwall Police are off work or in isolation because of Covid-19.

More than 230 frontline officers, and 150 non-frontline colleagues, are currently off with the virus or other sickness reasons.

This has prompted a letter to MPs from Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chairman Andy Berry, who believes the operational effectiveness of the force could be compromised if officers are not given priority for the vaccine.

Chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Andy Berry has written to MPs.

"I absolutely understand the need to medically prioritise the elderly and vulnerable with vaccinations but equally it must be a national priority to ensure that the police force remains effective, particularly now as we see the new Covid-19 variant rampaging across the country,” he said in his letter.

"Many officers across Devon and Cornwall do not have the option of working from home, or within a Covid-secure office.

The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has previously ruled out prioritising vaccines by occupation during the initial rollout.

It has suggested “occupational prioritisation” could form part of the second rollout, which would include vaccinating healthy people between the ages of 16 and 50.

Mr Berry added: "My members do not always have the choice to keep distant, and this puts them at risk of infection.

Mr Berry believes those working in policing should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: PA

"It’s not just their own health officers have to worry about, either. While they may be fit and healthy and unaffected by infection, officers will all have loved ones and will not want to take the virus home.

"We must protect our protectors, their families and as a result protect the public.

"The public expects police officers to put themselves in harm’s way and I believe that it is only fair to expect that these same frontline officers get prioritised for vaccination – it’s only fair and should just be part of the deal."

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