Lateral flow tests are being offered to officers and staff members in ‘certain public facing roles’ but there are not enough testing kits available yet for everyone.
A serving officer, who claims not to have been offered any tests to check whether they are asymptomatic and at risk of spreading the virus, said: This is extremely worrying for all who, through the very nature of our job, come into contact with those with Covid-19, those who don’t follow rules and we have to come into close contact with colleagues and the public on a daily basis.
“There a large number of officers self isolating on a regular basis, as well as a large number of officers testing positive for Covid.
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“In relation to PPE, we cannot complain, but how and why we cannot be tested when council, teachers, firefighters and shop workers all receive these tests.”
South Yorkshire’s Police Federation confirmed that not enough lateral flow tests have yet been secured for the force.
Chairman Steve Kent said: “It is absolutely vital that police officers are given regular tests to keep themselves their colleagues and the public safe.
“Police officers day in day out are dealing with society’s vulnerable people in the same way that NHS and social services do.
“As we know the police have been disgracefully ignored when it comes to vaccinations already. What we are seeing here is that in fairness the force are doing everything in their power to get testing implement throughout the force, but from my observation yet again we have been frustrated by a lack of equipment, testing kit and unnecessary red tape.”
South Yorkshire Police said: “The health and safety of officers and staff is always a priority for the force.
“The force has already introduced asymptomatic testing to those in certain public-facing roles, and we are in the process of expanding this as we prepare our remaining sites to meet the stringent requirements needed to host testing. Asymptomatic testing is used alongside a range of other measures that are in place to protect our workforce.”