THE police union has called for the Government to 'do the right thing' and give officers priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Dorset Police Federation, the organisation representing rank and file members of the force, wants officers to be prioritised for the jab after vulnerable members of society and NHS workers.

Anna Harvey, chairman of the Dorset Police Federation, says the move in "absolutely necessary" to protect officers who have been putting themselves at risk dealing with coronavirus situations.

She also added that the Dorset force has officers who are either off sick with the virus or self-isolating, which is adding pressure to frontline services.

"The Government needs to do the right thing by our officers and include them as a priority group in the Covid vaccine roll out," said Anna. "Every day since the start of the pandemic Dorset Police officers have been putting themselves at risk dealing with Covid-19 related incidents.

"The majority are unable to work from home and now we can see fatigue starting to show and we have officers who are either off sick with the virus or self- isolating, adding pressure to the front-line services."

Anna says pressure on frontline police services could easily be avoided if the Government makes "what I see as an easy decision."

She added: "I understand that our vulnerable communities need to be medically prioritised but there is a pressing and policing operational need for our frontline police officers and staff to be on that priority list too.

"Particularly as our colleagues will be the ones out there keeping people safe during the latest national lockdown.”

While 'frontline health and social care workers' are second in the Government’s published priority list for the vaccine roll-out, police officers do not feature at all on the advice from the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation.

Meanwhile, National Police Federation chairman John Apter said: “It is time for the Prime Minister to do the right thing for police officers in the thick of this pandemic.

"I am calling on him to back my colleagues in their time of need as more are absent from work after contracting the virus or having to self-isolate.

"We’ve lobbied the NPCC (National Police Chiefs' Council) who have raised this directly with Government.

"Despite positive responses no formal decision has been made, and we now need immediate Government action.

"That’s why the Prime Minister must make a decision - does he support police officers being prioritised for the Covid vaccine or not?

“This is certainly not about jumping the queue in front of the most vulnerable members of society or those on the NHS frontline.

"It’s about ensuring policing is resilient enough to cope with the demands of the pandemic and that my colleagues can continue to support the public during these exceptional times.”