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NSW Police to mandate vaccination for all employees

NSW Police will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all its employees with force members required to be fully vaccinated by November.

In a statement, corporate services Deputy Commissioner Karen Webb said the decision came following the escalation of case numbers in NSW and officers’ role on the front line of the state’s COVID-19 response.

“We know that the delta strain of this virus poses a significant risk to police officers and staff. Each day, we ask our officers to front up and perform their vital policing functions in this extremely challenging environment,” she said.

“The only way to face that risk is by ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are administered to all staff.”

All police force members must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 30, and must be fully vaccinated by November 30.

Evidence of employees’ vaccination will be recorded on police systems while exemptions will be available for medical or other valid reasons.

Deputy Commissioner Webb said more than 17,000 police employees had already been fully or partially vaccinated.

The police union has welcomed the decision to mandate vaccinations for its members, while calling on the government to facilitate priority access for officers’ family members.

Police Association of NSW president Tony King said the only way to manage COVID-19 in the workplace was to ensure more vaccines were administered.

“On that basis alone we have no debate with the clear direction given today by the [NSW Police force], allowing that there is a provision for exemptions to the requirement and that the … chain of command will take both medical contraindications and other valid reasons into consideration,” he said.

“The extraordinary dedication of the police of this state to protecting the community has to be met with a commitment from the government to ensure that access for their families to be vaccinated is a priority, as a matter of urgency.”