London police in full PPE is the new normal

London police are now wearing the same personal protective equipment (PPE) as frontline healthcare workers due to a directive from police leadership as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Police issued masks, gloves and coveralls to guard against COVID-19 while dealing with public

London police are now issuing personal protective equipment to officers who deal with the public as a way to protect them from COVID-19 infection. (London Police Service)

London police are now wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) similar to the gear worn by frontline healthcare workers after a directive from police leadership as local COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

Const. Sandasha Bough said it's a move to protect officers and members of the public from coronavirus infection. She said the decision was made by police leadership and after consultation with local health authorities. 

"We really want to ensure that our members are safe," said Bough. "It might seem a bit different to members of the public, but you will see our officers wearing PPE. That's for our safety as well as members of the public." 

Officers who deal with the public have been issued masks, gloves and isolation coveralls, Bough said. It will be up to officers whether or not to wear the protective gear during interactions with the public.

"Those are things the public will notice now on a regular basis," she said. 

COVID-19 has hit police officers hard in other jurisdictions. More than 1,000 New York City police officers have tested positive for the virus. Bough said there have been no positive COVID-19 tests among London officers. 

Incident on LTC bus

Police in full PPE were seen responding to an incident Wednesday at Westmount Mall.

London police responded to a call after a man, who'd been banned from the LTC, boarded a London Transit bus.

"During the process of removing him from the bus he has indicated that he has tested positive," said LTC boss Kelly Paleczny.

She said the man had been banned after a previous incident in which he'd "involved in a violence in the workplace incident with one of our employees."

Police were called to mall. The man was spoken to by officers, but not charged or arrested, said Bough. 

It's not clear whether the man actually is COVID-19 positive.