Vaccine plea by Norfolk police officer spat at by man 'with coronavirus'

Officers from Operation Moonshot quiz a motorist. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Officers from Operation Moonshot quiz a motorist. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk officer who was spat at by a suspect who claimed they had coronavirus has called for police to be placed on the priority list for vaccinations.

The sergeant and four colleagues from the force’s Operation Moonshot team, which disrupts criminals on the county’s road networks, have been forced to self-isolate and face an anxious wait to see if they have contracted the virus.

Norfolk police arrested three people and caught 41 drivers speeding in Great Yarmouth as part of Ope

Norfolk police Operation Moonshot disrupts criminals on the county’s road networks. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The officer – who asked not to be named - said the incident was “a nightmare” and he fears for his family’s safety.

He said: “Luckily it felt like the spit missed me, but it went onto the other officers with me, on a female officer’s hair and in another officer’s face. But you’re still in a close environment and you don’t know if any of the droplets have gone into your eyes.

“It’s just disgusting. He said he had Covid-19 and he was coughing in the back of the police car. We’re just waiting now and they’re going to find out if he is actually Covid-19 positive.”

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. PCC Lorne Green with Inspector for

Norfolk PCC Lorne Green has called for stiffer sentences for people who put officers at risk of Covid infection. - Credit: Archant

It comes after Norfolk’s outgoing police and crime commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green called for minimum five-year sentences for people who assault or try to infect officers with Covid

Last month four officers were spat at as they arrested two teenagers in Great Yarmouth in connection with the thefts of stealing a car and a motorbike.

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds once again reiterated his call for officers to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said: “Police officers can’t ‘distance’ from the public on duty. Dealing with these types of horrible incidents - as we do each and every day - puts our colleagues at an extremely heightened risk.

“This is why it's so important that police officers and frontline staff receive the Covid-19 vaccine as a matter of urgency.”

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds. Picture: Police Federation

Norfolk Police Federation chairman Andy Symonds - Credit: Police Federation

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The unnamed officer said it was difficult to patrol in full PPE because it had to be changed every time he and his colleagues stopped a car. 

“We’re a proactive unit and we’re stopping cars all the time. We’re doing a lot of work around county lines, so we are mixing with people from different areas,” he said. 

“I’ve been in this job 21 years and I’ve been spat at a few times, and it’s never nice. It’s the lowest of the low.”

He said frontline officers would feel “a million per cent” more confident if vaccinated. 

His team had entered a house recently where the occupants later told them they had Covid-19. He said: “These people are unpredictable.”

He added: “I cannot understand, we are a 24-hour resource, you could probably get the whole force vaccinated in less than 24 hours. I don’t get why we are being left behind.”

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