Covid-positive Dorset police officer admitted to hospital

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image captionDorset Police officers have been patrolling for lockdown breaches, including during a recent demonstration in Bournemouth on 9 January

A police officer who tested positive for coronavirus after policing an anti-lockdown rally has been admitted to hospital, a federation has said.

Dorset Police Federation said the 40-year-old officer became unwell on Tuesday and said he was being treated for a suspected blood clot on his lung.

He had been part of the operation which saw police disperse dozens of protesters in Bournemouth on 9 January.

The federation called for officers to be a priority for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The officer's admission to hospital comes as another male officer was said to be "really struggling" from the effects of coronavirus after he was spat at by a suspect while on duty.

In a statement, the federation said the officer in hospital was "receiving treatment whilst his family are at home waiting for news".

Anna Harvey, chairwoman of Dorset Police Federation, said the officer's illness was a "stark reminder of the extra risks our officers are facing on a daily basis".

"As I have previously said, police officers do not have a choice, they can't stay at home, they have to protect our communities.

"It saddens me to say that there is every chance this officer would not be in this position if police officers had been prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine."

'Warm words not enough'

Home Secretary Priti Patel previously said there was "a lot work taking place in government right now" to ensure police and other front-line workers were being moved up the priority list for the vaccine.

The committee advising the government on vaccines has said it would consider factors like exposure risk and occupation in the rollout's next phase. The most vulnerable are being prioritised for the vaccine first.

Ms Harvey said "warm words" from the government about "how brave police officers are" were "not enough".

"Our colleague is now another hospital patient that creates more pressure on our NHS," she added.

"We hear from the home secretary that the police service is being told to 'get ready' for the vaccine, but when will officers actually get the vaccine so that no more of our colleagues end up in hospital?

"To keep people safe, we need to keep the police safe."

Ms Harvey said the officer who was spat at by a suspect was "still bed bound" and "really poorly".

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