Kit Malthouse has said that he ‘regrets’ that police officers were not prioritised for Covid vaccination.

Andover’s MP, and Policing Minister, was addressing the Police Federation of England and Wales’s Annual Conference, which was taking place online on June 9 and 10, when he made the remarks. He said the Home Office had been unsuccessful in convincing the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the government on vaccine priorities, that police should get the jab.

He told delegates: “We did repeatedly make the case and make the request but obviously the JCVI made the decision that they did. The Government went with the JCVI’s logic.

“From my point of view it’s a point of regret that we didn’t manage to make our point strongly enough. There is sadness we didn’t get that across."

Throughout the pandemic, there have been calls for police and other emergency service workers to be prioritised in the national vaccination scheme.

It followed assaults on emergency workers rising during the pandemic, with 313 prosecutions in the first month of lockdown alone, with many being prosecuted for spitting at workers while claiming to have Covid.

In January, following an article published by Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police calling for police to be vaccinated, Kit Malthouse said police had “a strong case” to be vaccinated after the first four priority groups, which were those over 70, care home residents and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

At the time, he said ‘internal conversations’ were happening with the JCVI, but these did not result in a prioritisation of police officers.

However, speaking at the conference, he said many had been vaccinated, saying: “Quite a number of officers managed to get vaccinated with spare vaccines. Hopefully, now everybody is done or will be done shortly.”

He added: “Policing is coming out of the pandemic in better shape than it went it".

Shadow Policing Minister, Sarah Jones, said that while police enjoyed popular support, assaults, cuts and the impact of the pandemic was putting them under a lot of strain.

She said: "Public support for the police is really strong, but there is an increasing number of assaults on our police officers - police are facing a very difficult environment.

"Let's not pretend that there's not a huge amount of pressure that police officers are under."

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, concurred, saying it had been “one of the most challenging and one of the most extraordinary years for us all in recent history.”

He said that “ever-changing” rules and regulations made it harder to police, and that officers had unfairly become the focus of blame.