More than 130 Wiltshire Police officers have reported Covid-19-related sickness since the pandemic began, new figures show.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request from Wiltshire Police show a total of 134 police officers had reported suffering from Covid-19 related sickness up to October 13.

The force could not give figures on the number of officers who had tested positive for the virus but said the figure of 134 included people who had to self-isolate but tested negative.

Those with Covid-19-related sickness were 101 police constables, eight inspectors and 25 officers with higher ranking.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “The wellbeing and welfare of our officers, staff and volunteers has remained a top priority for us since the start of the pandemic and remains a key focus for us alongside engaging with our communities.

“Since March, we’ve established a number of processes to support any member of Wiltshire Police who has tested positive for COVID-19, needed to self-isolate or had any associated sickness.

“Our level of COVID-19-related sickness has remained relatively low since March and we’ve not had more than 12 people (officers and staff) off sick at any one time. This means the service we provide to our communities in Wiltshire and Swindon has remained unaffected throughout.”

Nationally, at least 849 police officers have tested positive at the 26 forces in the UK which answered a Freedom of Information Act request.

In August, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing issued new guidance to police forces on the use of personal protective equipment.

Advice was also given on social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, but it was accepted that maintaining a two-metre distance was not always possible.

Chairman of the Police Federation John Apter said it was “inevitable” some officers would catch the virus given their nature of work.

But he added: “There is also the constant worry of bringing the virus home to their loved ones which is exacerbated when they deal with offenders who weaponise the virus by spitting, biting and coughing - which is disgusting and unacceptable.

“People need to realise that behind the uniform, officers are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.”

Mr Apter urged the public “not to give up now” on combating the virus and to follow latest guidelines to reduce its spread.