THAMES Valley Police Federation is backing calls for police officers to get priority Covid-19 testing so they can get back to work if they have had the disease.

Last week Sheffield MP Louise Haigh urged the government to protect the welfare of officers as they battle on the frontline through the coronavirus crisis.

Read more: police want old officers to rejoin

She penned an open letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel urging her to ensure that officers had priority access to the anti-viral PPE kit they need and that they get tested for the disease in a series of suggested measures.

The plea has now been echoed by the TVP Federation chairman Craig O'Leary.

He said that officers already have enough personal protective equipment to deal with 'whatever COVID-19 has in store' unlike NHS staff, but added: “If police officers can be tested then it will ensure that we identify those that have had the virus so they can return to work safe in the knowledge that they are highly unlikely to contract the virus again."

“That would strengthen our numbers which are, unfortunately, like every other industry that’s working, taking a hit due to this virus."

Read again: the top 10 coronavirus fundraisers

He added: “I 100 per cent support Lou Haigh – she has been a constant voice of support of the police service for many, many years now and we are very grateful for her raising the police profile within parliament.

"It’s something that I’d personally like to thank her for, and I know my members probably would as well.”

Mr O' Leary is, however, confident the Home Secretary is doing what she can to help protect officers.

He explained: “We’ve heard from the Home Secretary, and she’s committed to doing everything she can for the police, and certainly we’re all very encouraged by the fact that she is willing to listen. I know that she is in constant contact with the Police Federation of England and Wales, making sure we have the equipment and the resources we require. Hopefully, that will remain the case as we move forward.”