More than a dozen Northamptonshire Police officers have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began

Police Federation says officers are in "constant worry" when faced with offenders who may spit, bite and cough at them

Picture: Press Association
Picture: Press Association

More than a dozen Northamptonshire Police officers have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began, new figures show.

The Police Federation says officers across the country are in “constant worry” when faced with offenders who may spit, bite and cough while being dealt with.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request from Northamptonshire Police show a total of 16 police officers have tested positive for the virus.

The force's records are up to October 21.

Those with positive tests were 10 police constables and six higher ranking officers.

Nationally, at least 849 police officers have tested positive at the 26 forces in the UK which answered a Freedom of Information Act request.

Durham and Wiltshire police forces could not provide the number of officers with positive coronavirus tests.

However, Durham Police said 37 officers had been absent due to Covid-19, while Wiltshire Police said 134 officers had reported Covid-19-related sickness.

In August, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing issued new guidance to police forces on the use of personal protective equipment.

Advice was also given on social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, but it was accepted that maintaining a two-metre distance was not always possible.

Chairman of the Police Federation John Apter said it was “inevitable” some officers would catch the virus given their nature of work.

But he added: “There is also the constant worry of bringing the virus home to their loved ones which is exacerbated when they deal with offenders who weaponise the virus by spitting, biting and coughing - which is disgusting and unacceptable.

“People need to realise that behind the uniform, officers are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.”

Mr Apter urged the public “not to give up now” on combating the virus and to follow latest guidelines to reduce its spread.

The NPCC also urged the public to follow regulations.

Chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Whilst demand levels remain high we are well-prepared to respond to any crime or other issues that arise.”