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G7: Government accused of 'betrayal' as 'unvaccinated police travel to Cornwall'
9 June 2021, 17:26 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 17:27
A police representative has accused the Government of "betrayal" with unvaccinated officers set to travel to secure the G7 summit in Cornwall.
The chairman of the Police Federation, John Apter, hit out at the Government for not prioritising them for jabs.
A constable has also said she is "deeply concerned" about how many would travel without having received a vaccine dose, especially with the Delta variant spreading.
Leaders of some of the world's richest nations, including Boris Johnson and Joe Biden, will gather in Cornwall to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and recovery, among other topics – which will require a large security presence.
Some 5,000 officers are expected to be bussed in. But despite requests, officers have not been prioritised for vaccine doses, meaning younger officers who travel to the event have not been jabbed.
Speaking at the federation's meeting, Mr Apter said: "Just this week, we have thousands of colleagues from all over the country coming together to police the G7 summit in Cornwall. Police officers from those communities where the Indian variant of the virus is thriving.
"We have young police officers who, by age alone, will not have been vaccinated. How can that be right?"
He added: "This is a failing of Government, and it's a failing that we can never forget."
Devon and Cornwall Police Constable Leanne Gould said: "I feel deeply concerned for the amount of people that are travelling down to G7, and the fact that I have not been vaccinated and many others haven't. Especially with the new Indian variant that is spreading.
"When the vaccination rollout was initially confirmed, I thought that police would be prioritised after the most vulnerable like our NHS colleagues on the front line.
"I do feel completely let down by the Government as we've just been left to be exposed to the enormous risk of catching the virus."
Mr Apter told delegates: "The Government's warm words became lame actions and the result is that my colleagues do feel a deep sense of betrayal."
During the conference, policing minister Kit Malthouse insisted officials had tried to argue for officers to be prioritised but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided against it.
The committee has focused on going down the age groups and most vulnerable.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the JCVI advised that the quickest way to reduce deaths was to deploy them to those groups first.
She told delegates the pandemic "meant recognising that to save lives we absolutely had to prioritise the vaccine rollout in line with the overriding risk factors of age and clinical vulnerability".