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DATE: March 25, 2020

The WA Police Union is calling on the State Government to prioritise the testing of police officers who are exposed to COVID-19 on the frontline.

The call comes after an incident where four police officers had to physically restrain a woman who claimed to be infected with COVID-19, after she refused to move on and self-isolate. Allegedly, earlier in the day the same woman was the subject of two separate jobs including one in a Woolworths store where she was screaming that she had coronavirus.

Union President Harry Arnott said the Union had written to the Premier and Deputy Premier asking that priority screening be implemented to ensure a healthy workforce and to maximise the number of police officers on the frontline.

“There is an expectation that police officers will enforce the Government's crisis legislation however, there needs to be more done to protect our Members from COVID-19. It beggars belief that our Government is not doing more to protect the police who are protecting the community,” he said.

“The State Government is expecting more from our members than any time before and in a time of crisis we need their support. This is a simple remedy and needs to be implemented by the McGowan Government immediately.

“Our Members were already over worked and under resourced before this health crisis, so any reduction in numbers caused by quarantining, isolation and illness will place police officers under extreme pressure.”

Mr Arnott said the Union also had major concerns about access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Our biggest concern is that our Members on the frontline are going to jobs with no PPE. We have been constantly asking WA Police Force what is happening with extra PPE and so far they have been unable to give us a satisfactory answer,” he said.

“Our Members are committed to protecting and serving the community throughout this crisis, but they need support in the form of priority testing if they are exposed in the workplace and the appropriate protective equipment.”