1 February 2021
Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe appeared on national television to talk about the “horrific” moment he was attacked by a thug claiming to have Covid-19.
Steve spoke to Good Morning Britain about the assault which happened as he was dealing with a group of people out during lockdown.
“One of them came over to the side of our vehicle, pulled down his scarf and coughed in the window – very much at me,” said Steve, “He then said ‘I’ve got Covid’ and off he went.
“When somebody weaponises that and targets you directly, it’s horrific.”
Steve’s comments to Good Morning Britain came as the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) released the results of its demand, capacity and welfare survey, which highlights the impact of the pandemic on the health of officers.
The weaponising of the virus against police officers was revealed to be an emerging threat to health and welfare.
Almost one in three officers (32 per cent) responding to the survey reported a member of the public who was believed to carry the virus had threatened to breathe or cough on them, while nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said someone had actually done so.
A total of 28 per cent had performed Covid-19 duties involving coronavirus-related deaths and other associated work.
More than a quarter of officers reported that they believed they had contracted the virus (26 per cent), while 45 per cent of these respondents believed they contracted the virus through work-related activities.
John Apter, national chair of PFEW, said: “As well as having an incredibly challenging and demanding job and all the pressures that go with it, police officers are also human beings who are also looking after kids, poorly relatives, and have the same stresses as everyone else.
“This survey shows the harsh reality of policing during a period when police officers have simply done the best they could to help and protect the public.”