How can it be morally right for convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine over our brave police officers?

The chairman of Yorkshire's largest police force has condemned the Government for allowing convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles to have the Covid-19 vaccination before frontline key workers stating it is "morally wrong".

Generic police picture.
Generic police picture.

Brian Booth appeared on Good Morning Britain (GMB) on Tuesday morning after it was revealed sex offenders like Gary Glitter will be offered the jab before police officers, ambulance workers and firefighters.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has set out a list of priority groups who will be offered the vaccine first including residents and staff in care homes, all those over 80 years of age and frontline health and social care workers; and those over 75 years and over.

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Glitter, real name Paul Francis Gadd and aged 76, qualifies for a jab because of his age, a decision that has angered Mr Booth.

Chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation Brian Booth.

He said: "How can it be morally right for convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine over our brave police officers?

"It's an absolutely disgusting decision that has been made here and for my colleagues it's just another kick in the teeth from the Government. They really do need to get a grip of this. I understand the argument that key workers need the vaccine and prison officers must be part of that. I say give the prison officers the vaccine but not convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles."

When questioned by GMB host Susanna Reid if he was suggesting people convicted of offences should be left at risk of death because of their conviction, Mr Booth replied: "They should be prioritised in a queue which is right and morally right.

"These people are giving nothing to society whereas my colleagues on the front line are giving everything and we have lost police officers and have police officers currently in hospital fighting for their lives.

"This can not be right that these individuals who are giving nothing to society are prioritised over my colleagues."

The GMB host pointed out that Glitter is in the relevant age band to receive his Covid-19 injection according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list.

Mr Booth said: "This is wrong again. Again there is a moral duty to protect our workers. It goes further than police officers, it's all the key workers - the shop keepers who have kept our shops open, the fire officers and it's the people who are keeping the country going. We are in a really serious situation here and we have got to get behind the key workers and support them before people who are languishing in prison.

"There has got to be a priority list and people will get their jab down that list. I know it is difficult. I will reiterate that there are certain things that can be put in place. Let's talk about people in prison. You can put them in solitary confinement if they are such a risk and they can wait their turn for the vaccine. Police officers do not have that choice. They have to go in domestic situations and deal with violent individuals and risk everyday contracting Covid. That is not acceptable."

The Ministry Of Justice has defended its vaccine schedule.

A Government spokesman said: "Prisoners are being vaccinated at the same time as the general public and in line with the priority groups set out by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation."