Two north-east experts are to provide specialist advice about risks and the safeguards needed by police staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, and former director of primary care at NHS Grampian, Professor George Crooks OBE, have joined a panel established by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF).
It will continually review and assess medical and epidemiological issues in respect of Covid-19 – and identify changes to working practices that should be considered by the Police Service of Scotland (PSoS).
Professor Crooks is currently the chief executive of the Digital Health and Care Institute, Scotland’s national innovation centre in those fields.
He was a GP for 23 years in Aberdeen before becoming director of primary care for Grampian.
Professor Pennington, who is well known in his field, has been involved in research into smallpox, vaccinia and other viruses.
He and Prof Crooks are joined on the panel by Professor Sir Harry Burns, who is professor of global public health at Strathclyde University.
The Police Federation members are Calum Steele and David Kennedy and the legal member is Professor Peter Watson of PBW Law.
Calum Steele, the Federation’s general secretary, said: “The generic health protection advice promoted by the government simply does not take account of the realities of police work.
“We need sector-specific advice that recognises and reflects the often unpredictable and up close and personal nature of policing and this panel will help us secure that.”
The panel, which had its first video conference yesterday, will inform how the SPF represents its members in Covid-19 talks with Police Scotland leadership.
During the conference, the panel discussed issues such as the nature of police work, which is often up close, and rules about social distancing guidance.
The importance of cleaning workplaces and vehicles is also being examined as well as the threat to officers’ families should infection be carried back to the family home.
The panel will also consider police in custody suites who work in close quarters and examples of officers having to perform first aid – including CPR – without protection against Covid-19.