South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne is urging members to continue using personal protective equipment (PPE) as new figures revealed more than 800 UK police officers have tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic.
The Press Association gathered figures from 24 forces across the four nations of the UK which showed 849 officers became infected.
Steve said: “That figure would undoubtedly have been higher if it wasn’t for officers using PPE such as masks and gloves. It doesn’t surprise me that our colleagues have contracted this virus. They’re only human and as susceptible to it as everyone else, and the reality of policing is we’re often up close to people.
“The Federation campaigned at the start of this pandemic for PPE to be provided and forces responded to that. I would encourage officers and staff, where possible, to make sure they continue to use PPE to protect themselves, colleagues and the public.”
The Federation urges members to wear masks, particularly when social distancing is not an option, to wash hands and wipe down equipment before and after use.
Officers are also encouraged to download the test and trace app to their personal phones to carry on duty and familiarise themselves with the operational guidance on PPE.
The leaflet gives advice around stop and search procedures, contact with the public and the PPE needed for many routine situations.
National Federation chair John Apter has also highlighted the fact that policing the pandemic is taking a toll on officers’ mental health and wellbeing.
“They continue to work 12-hour shifts and have rest days cancelled to help protect the public at this difficult time,’ he explained, “There is also the constant worry of taking the virus home to their loved ones which is exacerbated when they deal with offenders who weaponise the virus by spitting, biting and coughing – which is disgusting and unacceptable.”