Four days ago I read in the Leicester Mercury of a police officer who was spat at when making an arrest. The villain than taunted the police officer by saying that he had covid and by spitting at the officer had infected him.
Whether or not the man did have covid, this is clearly an assault on a police officer wearing the Queen’s Uniform and should be treated as such. Prosecuting assaults on officers needs to be backed up by appropriately severe punishments handed down by the courts. But in the long term, that is not enough. We need to reconnect the police with the public. That is going to take time to achieve, but that is no reason not to start as soon as possible.
But there is a more immediate action that we can take in the short term to protect our officers. They go out day and night to protect us from villains, and to help those who get into trouble. Inevitably they are going to come into contact with people who have covid. That will put the police officers at risk of catching this disease. And it is not only the police officers who are put at risk, but also their families.
They need to be protected.
That is why I have written to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to urge him to give priority to the police when it comes to getting the vaccine. Obviously the elderly and vulnerable need to be vaccinated first, but surely our blue light responders – including the police – should be given top priority thereafter.