West Midlands Police chief calls for Test and Trace exemptions

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Sir Dave ThompsonImage source, West Midlands Police
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Sir Dave Thompson said changes to self-isolation rules needed to be made quickly

The chief constable of West Midlands Police has called for changes to Test and Trace as the force is hit by staff members self-isolating.

Sir Dave Thompson said the government should consider exemptions to allow officers to return to work.

He said it was "critical... to ensure we can deliver sustainable policing services and keep the public safe".

The government is due to announce exemptions for some fully vaccinated key workers later.

Image source, Getty Images
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Sir Dave said police had "been at the forefront of the response to managing the virus"

"As infection rates remain high it is becoming increasingly challenging within West Midlands Police, like many other forces, to ensure that resilience is not compromised with high self-isolation through track and trace or other notifications," Sir Dave said.

"Against this backdrop, it is critical that we explore all opportunities with government to introduce a test and release scheme swiftly for policing which makes it easier for us to free up resources and meet demand at what is already an exceptionally busy time of the year with very high volumes of calls."

West Midlands Police is the country's second largest force.

Sir Dave's comments come as more than 600,000 people in England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts in the week between 8-15 July.

Supermarkets, along with the hospitality and transport sectors have reported growing numbers of affected staff, with some businesses having to reduce opening hours to cope.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has also raised concerns that police response times may have been affected by high levels of absence.

Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner, Steve Turner, also voiced concerns about the so-called "pingdemic" earlier this week.

"We suddenly find ourselves cancelling rest days and cancelling leave and bringing officers in from other shifts to cover where we have got the gaps," he said.

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