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Coronavirus: First Metropolitan Police staff member dies after contracting virus

Contact centre worker had pre-existing health conditions, Scotland Yard says

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 03 April 2020 09:02 BST
Ex-chief scientific adviser David King slams handling of coronavirus crisis

A member of Metropolitan Police staff has died after contracting coronavirus, in the first linked death to hit Britain’s largest force.

A spokesperson said the person worked in the contact centre, which handles 999 and 101 calls from the public, other forces and dispatches police to incidents.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a member of police staff working in MetCC, who had pre-existing health conditions, has died after contracting Covid-19,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

“We are at this time respecting the needs of the family and not releasing a name.

“This is believed to be the first coronavirus-related death within the Metropolitan Police Service.”

A Dorset Police officer died on Monday after being suspected of contracting coronavirus.

The force said the 56-year-old had been unwell since Christmas with a chest infection.

He had been off sick since 19 March and went into self-isolation after displaying covid-19 symptoms.

Several doctors have also died during the outbreak in Britain.

Police leaders have not disclosed how many officers and staff are currently off work due to coronavirus.

Contingency plans have been drawn up by forces across the UK for a maximum of one fifth of officers to be lost at any one time.

Police leaders have said they may be forced to prioritise crime reports, but have vowed to continue responding to emergencies and protecting vulnerable people.

Officers have been given unprecedented powers to enforce the UK’s lockdown with fines and arrests, which they have been told to use as a last resort after a series of controversies.

There have been numerous incidents of people deliberately coughing on police officers and claiming they have coronavirus during the outbreak.

Prosecutors are charging the offences as assault on an emergency worker, which can be punished by up to two years in prison.

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