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We Must Keep Each Other Safe

Officers must “continue to keep each other safe” during the pandemic, West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

New figures have shown that more than 800 UK police officers nationally tested positive for COVID-19 this year.

West Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman Brian Booth said that fortunately there was a low number of COVID-related police absences in the region. But he added that officers must not become complacent.

He said: “Please keep each other safe, because officers are not immune.

“Remember the basics, like regular washing of hands or using hand gel, wearing masks and keeping your distance wherever possible.

“Please bring any issues to the attention of local Fed Reps.

“We have seen instances where whole teams have been taken out to isolate following a positive test, and this impacts on the surrounding teams, who will have their duties deviated under an exigency.

“Luckily there have only been a small number of cases like this.”

The figures on officer infections were gathered by the Press Association in a Freedom of Informtion request.

The figures showed that 849 officers have been infected.

However, nearly half of UK forces – including the Met – did not reply, so the real number of cases is likely to be far higher.

Across England and Wales several police officers have been severely ill and in comas due to COVID, and a small number have died after catching the virus.
But the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has said more officers would have become ill if it hadn’t campaigned so effectively for adequate PPE.

PFEW has also said that the new COVID regulations will be a challenge for policing. West Yorkshire has returned to Tier 3, the highest restrictions.
However, there will be a five-day relaxation of the rules around Christmas.

Ché Donald, PFEW Vice Chair, said that this “represents a unique challenge and will be next-to-impossible to police”.

But Brian said that West Yorkshire Police officers were handling the situation so far.

He added: “We are coping as a force really well.”

Date posted: December 5, 2020

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