IT IS "not acceptable" that some prisoners will get the vaccine before police officers on the frontline, the chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Chairman Brian Booth spoke on ITV's Good Morning Britain today about the Federation's continuing campaign to get police officers and other frontline workers, such as firefighters and teachers, moved up the vaccine priority list.

Speaking live from Huddersfield, Mr Booth said that "convicted paedophiles, murderers and rapists" were being prioritised over officers who risk catching the virus on duty.

The Ministry of Justice defended plans to vaccinate convicted criminals before their victims due to their age and health conditions.

In recent months, the Telegraph & Argus has reported on several cases where suspects spat at police officers and, in some instances, claimed to have Covid-19.

It also falls against the backdrop of new research that showed a third of police officers have been threatened with infection by members of the public claiming to have Covid-19.

Speaking to hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Mr Booth described the order of the vaccine roll-out as "another kick in the teeth".

Mr Booth said: "It's an absolutely disgusting decision that's been made here, it's just another kick in the teeth from the government - they really do need to get a grip of this.

"I understand the argument that key workers need the vaccine and prison officers must be part of that, I'd say give the prison officers the vaccine but not convicted paedophiles, murderers and rapists."

"They should be prioritised in a queue which is right and morally right, these people are giving nothing to society whereas my colleagues on the frontline are giving everything.

“We've lost police officers and we have police officers currently in hospital and fighting for their lives; this cannot be right that these individuals who have given nothing to society are prioritised over my colleagues."

He added: “In essence there has got to be a priority list. People will get their jab down that list. I know it’s difficult, everybody wants a jab but I will reiterate that point, certain people there are things that can be put in place.

"Let’s talk about people in prison, you can put people in solitary confinement if they are high risk and they can wait their turn for the vaccine. Police officers do not have that choice. They have to go into domestic situations, deal with violent individuals and risk everyday contracting Covid. That is not acceptable."

Philip Davies MP (Shipley, Conservative), who has backed Mr Booth's previous Protect the Protectors campaigns, said the decision was an "affront to decency".

Mr Davies said: “I fully support the stance of the West Yorkshire Police Federation. After the first four priority groups the people first in line for the vaccine should be front line workers - health workers, police officers, shop workers, teachers, firefighters etc - and it would be an affront to decency for prisoners to leapfrog above them - or anyone else for that matter. What message would be sent out by saying people in prison can get the vaccine ahead of others. I very much hope that doesn’t happen."

Response from Public Health England

In December, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it based prioritisation on an assessment of the risk of exposure and risk of mortality by occupation.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: “The JCVI’s advice on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible. As the single greatest risk of death from COVID-19 is older age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

“It is estimated that vaccinating everyone in the priority groups would prevent 99% of deaths, including those associated with occupational exposure to infection."