GWENT’S Police and Crime Commissioner has called for surplus coronavirus vaccines to be given to police after reports of officers being assaulted and spat at by people claiming to have Covid-19.
Jeff Cuthbert has said that vaccines for police officers have remained “a very hot issue”.
Speaking to the Gwent Police and Crime Panel, Mr Cuthbert called for police officers to be given surplus vaccines.
“People will be aware that there is a drive for police officers to be recognised in terms of threat and risk to the job.
“Extra risks they run on our behalf should be recognised.
“Surplus vaccines ought to be allocated to police officers.”
Mr Cuthbert said he realised police officers go into situations where others will not when there is a risk of Covid-19, such as breaking up large gatherings.
“Tragically we’ve also had cases where police officers have been assaulted and even spat at by people claiming to have Covid-19.”
Gwent Police’s deputy chief constable, Amanda Blakeman, said that officers are issued with all the proper protective equipment but they are still individuals with families and home lives.
Police officers are not currently part of any priority group when it comes to vaccinations in Wales.
Cllr Tony Easson of Monmouthshire County Council asked whether the commissioner was “confident that that age profile can be encompassed within the vaccination programme” and questioned whether it would slow down the process to identify certain groups.
Mr Cuthbert said that there is “some validity” to it slowing down the process.
“They will in due course be covered by the age profiles, the issue is how long will that take as far as we are concerned,” he said.
“Police officers are facing these issues now, and especially if there are surplus vaccines we see no reason why they can’t be allocated to police officers as they were briefly in North Wales.”
Gwent’s deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Eleri Thomas, said she was pleased the panel was supporting them in the call for police officer vaccinations “as appropriate”.
“We are requesting a proportionate response and not asking for blanket vaccination of police officers.
“We will not be expecting the NHS to use their vaccination infrastructure in order to vaccinate police officers.”