A SOUTH Wales police force will be part of a coronavirus testing pilot in an effort at cutting the number of officers and staff in isolation.

The pilot, involving South Wales Police, was announced by the Welsh Government's health minister Vaughan Gething, will involve serial testing with the aim of reducing the number of police staff who are out of work due to self-isolation after coming into contact with a positive coronavirus case.

The four-week pilot is a similar plan to the one for Welsh schools and colleges which will start in January.

The serial testing will allow for police staff who are identified as close contacts of someone who tested positive for Covid-19 to either isolate as previously or continue to work by taking a lateral flow test at the start of their shift for the duration of their self-isolation period – providing the tests come back negative.

If the 20-30 minute lateral flow tests come back positive, they must then self-isolate and book the confirmatory test.


South Wales Police chief superintendent Andy Valentine said: “I am pleased that we have been able to work with Welsh Government and Public Health Wales and I am extremely grateful for the support we have had to establish the lateral flow test pilot for our officers and staff.

“We are seeing the very serious impact that the contact tracing arrangements have on police resource levels. When officers and staff have symptoms of Covid-19 or test positive, their close contacts are legally obliged to self-isolate for 10 days, Due to the uncontrolled nature of our work, these contacts can be numerous and have a significant impact on the individuals involved and on resource levels.

“This pilot will allow officers who test negative to return to their duties safely so they can continue to protect the public and keep our communities safe.”

Mr Gething said: “The nature of frontline police work is such that there is extensive interaction with often more vulnerable members of the public – resulting in a heightened risk of transmission, infection and requirement for self0isolation. This is resulting in a detrimental impact on police workforce capacity to address day-to-day routine law enforcement commitments.

“As a consequence of the particular pressures facing the South Wales Police area, I have agreed to a proposal to commence a four-week asymptomatic serial testing pilot with South Wales Police, ahead of a possible wider roll-out of serial testing to other police force areas in Wales, subject to an evaluation and review demonstrating the impact and efficacy of this initial pilot. The proposal has the agreement of the other police force areas in Wales.”