West Yorkshire Police officers are being urged not to be complacent about protecting themselves and their colleagues from COVID-19, as the country enters a second lockdown.
West Yorkshire Police Federation says it is vital officers continue to take the right precautions, and carry on wearing PPE, washing their hands, utilising the NHS Tracking app on- and off-duty and staying socially distanced from others, to ensure they remain well and healthy.
The plea comes after some officers have been forced to self-isolate, in some instances because of not being able to be fully COVID-safe in the work environment.
West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Brian Booth said the COVID situation was of considerable concern and that it still needed to be taken seriously.
He said: “COVID-related calls are at around 150 a day, much less than the 1,000 or so we were getting at the start of the main lockdown.
“But as officers, we’ve still got to look after each other; it’s easy to forget to wear the mask, to wash our hands and social distance when we are working with each other.”
Officers had received conflicting guidance around the use of the Government’s Test and Trace app on their personal phones. West Yorkshire Police Federation sought clarity from the force, and it has now confirmed that officers can use the app on their personal phones while on duty.
But the app isn’t perfect, Brian said: “A Custody Sergeant could be booking in a prisoner who has COVID and has their mobile phone on them; the suspect has been searched, and that phone has been removed.
“As a Custody Sergeant you’re behind a glass screen; there’s no physical touching between individuals, yet that Sergeant would be seen by the app to have been in close proximity to that individual for over 15 minutes and he or she could get a notification to go and self isolate.
“As much as we’re being told to use the app at all times, I don’t think it’s totally practical in policing to be given that diktat – we need to be careful how we use the app and use it sensibly.”
But he added that the tool could save the infection spreading through the workforce, if used properly.
Date posted: November 18, 2020