“CRIPPLING THE FRONTLINE”: Number of Cleveland police officers having to self isolate is causing problems
Restrictions relaxed on Monday across the nation bringing an end to the legal requirement to wear masks and limits on how many people can meet.
However, rules on self-isolation remain in place.
Glen Teeley, chairman of Cleveland Police Federation, said the force front-line was “running on overtime” and close to minimum levels of staff at the moment.
“We’re looking at five to 10 officers being needed on a regular basis just to get day-to-day policing done,” he added.
“That’s all covid related. It’s the busiest time of the year when everyone’s got annual leave.
“With the annual leave submissions, you’d be naturally running low on staff.
“To throw in the curveball of covid just makes it unattainable.
“We’re have to put out overtime for officers just to make up the minimum numbers.
“That’s not just the safety of the public, that’s about the safety of colleagues and knowing there is someone there to back you up.”
When will the rules change?
From August 16, fully vaccinated people will no longer have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for coronavirus.
Instead, if you are tracked by test and trace, you will be asked if you’re fully vaccinated and then advised to take a PCR test.
Steve Turner, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, has written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid sharing worries about healthy officers, police staff and emergency workers being forced to self-isolate at the moment.
He wants simple daily tests to allow them to return to the front line as pressures increase.
The Conservative commissioner said: “We have a great plan to deal with that (increase in pressure) but without swift action from the Government, that could disintegrate due to the added complexity of officers and staff having to self isolate through close contact despite having had both vaccinations.”
He added swift action was “imperative” given the vaccine rollout programme’s success.
But he also sounded a warning.
Mr Turner said: “There is a very real danger that we are risking the lives and safety of our residents while we force fit and healthy emergency workers to sit at home, rather than bring forward legislation that is due to come into force anyway on August 14.”
It’s understood the force control room and support service teams are also seeing pressures from numbers self-isolating.
Mr Teeley backed the commissioner’s call given the summer was usually the busiest time officers faced with staff taking leave.
The federation chairman said: “To have fit officers at home is restricting colleagues and the public.
“To have five or six people have to self-isolate because one of their colleagues has tested positive is just crippling us – and we’re having to police it all with overtime.”
Written by Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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