Summer will bring new challenges for Yorkshire's police officers warns federation
The year ahead will be challenging for police officers across Yorkshire with fears over resourcing and a continued rise in assaults, it has been warned.
The potential re-opening of the night time economy in June, coupled with the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament and the G7 Summit in Cornwall, could lead to resourcing issues due to the majority of police officers not receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, the chair of the West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.
Brian Booth made his predictions as he praised officers across the county for the way they policed the pandemic over the last 12 months - on the anniversary of the first UK lockdown.
Mr Booth said: "This year, policing will have some unique challenges.
"We have the potential re-opening of the night time economy in June, which coincides with the Euro football tournament.
"It is deeply worrying that our officers will be in the thick of this, and yet the vast majority of them will not have had the vaccine.
"It could lead to a resourcing issue. On top of this we have the G7 deployment, also in June, which will see a large scale national deployment of officers, and the challenges continue with the COP26 deployment in Scotland, later this year."
Mr Booth is angered that despite a challenging summer ahead, officers will still not have a place in the priority vaccination queue.
He said: "Throughout the pandemic, West Yorkshire Police Officers have had to police last-minute law changes and suffered vile assaults in the process. They're now facing a challenging summer ahead, so why do they still not have a place in the vaccination queue?
"To say it's been a challenging year for police officers is an understatement. COVID-19 has brought some of the biggest curtailment on our civil liberties in a lifetime, all in the interest of public safety.
"It makes me incredibly proud that my colleagues have managed all this in a dignified, professional and fair way. They have often borne the brunt of others' frustration, and we have seen a significant increase of assaults on them when people have weaponised the virus.
"They have had to deal with last-minute legislation and hundreds of law changes. They continue to put themselves in harm's way to protect the public, to deal with situations where no PPE could remain intact and keep them safe."
The Government confirmed police officers and teachers would not be bumped up the Covid vaccine priority list once the NHS has made its way through 32 million people in the top nine priority groups, back in February.
Ministers announced they will continue with the age-based approach recommended by leading scientists.