'I'm baffled that frontline police aren't being prioritised for vaccine', says Met Police chief Cressida Dick

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2 min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Dame Cressida Dick attends a service to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2020 in London, England. The service is to commemorate the funeral of an unknown British serviceman, the Unknown Warrior, whose body was brought from Northern France and buried at the west end of the nave in Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920 to represent all those who lost their lives in the First World War but whose place of death was not known, or whose bodies remained unidentified. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Pool)
Cressida Dick has said her officers should be prioritised for a COVID vaccine. (Indigo/Getty Images/Pool)

One of the UK’s top officers has said she is “baffled” frontline police haven’t been prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine.

Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said officers have repeatedly put themselves at risk during the pandemic and are spat on and coughed at on a daily basis.

Police in other countries have been prioritised for delivery of a COVID jab, she told LBC on Tuesday morning, and to “keep other people safe we need to keep the police safe”.

“They are putting themselves at risk, they have been for the last year, we try to look after them as best we can,” Dick said.

Read more: Countries hoarding COVID vaccines will 'prolong the pandemic', WHO chief warns

She said there have been 97 cases where somebody mentioned or threatened COVID and then coughed at an officer and 48 occasions where someone spat, leading to 126 charges – of which two-thirds have resulted in a custodial sentence.

She said the incidents were “quite widespread” and people cough or spit on officers on a daily basis, even though they don’t claim to be infected with coronavirus.

Three of her colleagues, none of which were police officers, have died after being infected with coronavirus, including a community support officer last week.

The commissioner added that she was “really baffled” why police weren’t being put in the same priority as people in their 60s and 50s.

“This is a decision government have made so far on the basis of something called the JCVI, 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,” she said.

Government guidance – made through the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – recommends that phase one sees everyone aged over 50, and anyone aged 16 and older with an underlying health condition, be vaccinated.

Dick said she had been given “warmer words” that officers could be jabbed at the beginning of phase two.

Watch: What you can and can’t do in lockdown