Dear Prime Minister and Secretary of State,
I hope this email finds you well. I know you are both very busy; however, I would very much appreciate it if you found the time to read this email.
I am a 26-year-old Police Officer. I have been in my role for two years, and I have worked for the force for six years in various roles before becoming an officer. I absolutely love my job, and it saddens me that I feel I have to write this email.
I absolutely wholeheartedly agree that the clinically vulnerable should be vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. This email is not about jumping the queue. I am, however, appalled, perplexed and astounded at the governments continuing denial to prioritise vaccination of officers. It really is a huge insult to the entire police service in the United Kingdom.
Today, I have spent my entire shift on bedwatch in a local hospital. This person was on a COVID ward, which means I have spent my entire working day mixing with doctors and nurses who are coming directly into contact with the virus. The notion that we as police officers are not important enough to receive the vaccination in some sort of priority is preposterous. This is not an isolated incident.
The incident today I am referring to has been ongoing since last weekend, and will continue until at least the end of the week. A rota of officers will be putting themselves at risk on a daily basis, and in turn, their entire shift. After this, they will return home to their families, and risk infecting them.
Furthermore, the risks we are facing do not stop there. I am sure this is not a surprise to you, but we are facing the ongoing threat of this virus being weaponised against us. I currently have a case going to court whereby my colleague and I were coughed at, in hospital, by another arrested person, whilst discussing the covid pandemic. Just weeks later, the very same colleague was spat at by another detained person.
Just days after that, another colleague of mine was spat at, in the eye, by someone thought to be COVID positive.
I currently still live at home with parents. My Mum has severe Asthma. I accept the risks that come with the office that I hold, as every single one of my colleagues do. My mum, however, does not hold that office and has not joined the police service. Why should she have to accept the risks that I now pose to her just because I do not have the necessary PPE that could reduce transmissibility?
Every single officer I have spoken to about this feels hugely let down and offended that they are not being treated with respect from the government that we are all working so hard to support throughout this pandemic. We are the first line of defence, after the NHS, to bring this pandemic to an end. Without us, there would not be lockdown compliance, there would be no one to enforce the rules. We are enforcing alien legislation, that changes on a weekly basis in an effort to work with the government and for the population of the country to end this pandemic. But we have not received the same support from our government, and it truly saddens and infuriates me.
I am aware senior police management and the Police Federation are working with you come to a decision around how this issue will be fixed. I, however, as a ‘number on the ground’, wanted to give you some of the harsh realities we are facing on a daily basis, and how officers feel like the government have little to no regard for our well-being. We feel like that we are being given empty words in response to our calls for some sort of prioritisation after the clinically vulnerable. The standard response of “waiting for the JVCI to decide what to do” is not cutting it, and we all feel like we are being forgotten about.
Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for the hard work you have been putting in to combat this pandemic.
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