COVID-19: Interim Recommendations concerning Police Officers and Security Guards

COVID 19 preventive measures in the workplace
These measures apply when sustained community transmission has been confirmed by public health authorities

In the interest of protecting the health of employees and other persons in the workplace, employers and workers are asked to:

1. Ensure at all times that the safety of police officers and security guards is not compromised or reduced by the use of protective equipment against COVID‑19 and that each situation is assessed before proceeding with any intervention.

2. Promote compliance with directives applicable to employees required to self-isolate at home and, when possible, promote teleworking for designated tasks.

3. Advise employees not to come to work if they have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing.

  • If an employee or an accused start exhibiting symptoms in the workplace, have a procedure in place for isolating the person and having him or her wear a procedure (or surgical) mask. Call 1‑877‑644‑4545.

4. Promote proper hand hygiene by providing employees with easy access to all necessary supplies (running water, soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, touchless trash cans, tissues, disposable hand towels or paper towels, etc.).

5. Promote proper hygiene and respiratory etiquette (coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow or into a tissue that is discarded immediately after use and then washing hands as soon as possible).

6. Promote social distancing measures (e.g. teleworking, physical barriers) and, wherever possible, maintain a distance of 2 metres between persons. If it is impossible to maintain a 2-metre distance at all times, adaptations may be made, for example:

Pairs working (less than 2 metres apart) in police vehicles:

a. Systematically exclude from the workplace any person with a cough, fever or difficulty breathing.

b. Assign officers to consistent pairs to help minimize interactions.

c. Have officers perform the same positions (driver, co-pilot) for the entire shift whenever possible.

d. Discourage the sharing of supplies and equipment (e.g. tablets, pens or pencils, communication devices such as microphones, megaphones).

e. Clean dashboards, steering wheels, gear shift knobs and other instrumentation in vehicles with alcohol-based pre-moistened wipes regularly during each shift and every time the driver and co-pilot need to switch places.

f. Do not set the vehicle ventilation system to recirculate.

7. Disinfect lunchrooms after each meal and restrooms daily using the designated appropriate cleaning product.

8. Clean all high-touch workspace surfaces (tables, counters, door handles, telephones, police equipment, computer hardware, etc.) using the designated appropriate cleaning product at a minimum at the start of each shift and each time users switch positions. Clean high-touch surfaces inside vehicles at a minimum at the start of each shift.

a. Also disinfect:

  • client traffic areas, ideally twice a day,
  • cells or interrogation rooms, after each accused,
  • vehicle interiors, after transporting a symptomatic person.

9. Remove work clothing at the end of each shift, transport in a closed plastic or cloth bag, and then wash in hot water using the usual laundry detergent, ideally at work. If work clothing must be taken home to launder, it may be washed along with other family laundry in hot water using the usual laundry detergent. However, work clothing must be transported in a closed plastic or cloth bag that should not be opened by other family members. Avoid shaking out the bag or its contents when loading the laundry into the washing machine.

10. Have an infection response plan in place that is adapted to the specific context of your workplace and make sure it is followed.

Preventive measures when interacting with individuals or groups

1. Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from other persons or, if this is not possible, keep the interaction to a minimum:

  • Interaction while maintaining a 2-metre distance requires no additional measures.
  • Brief (less than 15 minutes) interaction less than 2 metres from the other person (e.g. speeding ticket) requires no additional measures. Always wash your hands after interactions.

2. If the situation requires interaction for longer than 15 minutes within 2 metres of the other person (Bertillon measurements and breathalyzer tests fall into this category if it is impossible to maintain a 2-metre distance) or the situation requires a brief interaction with a higher level of aggression (e.g. spitting, biting):

  • Wear a procedure (surgical) mask, protective eyewear and gloves.
    • A visor that covers the entire face down to the chin may be used instead of protective eyewear.
  • Remove the gloves, protective eyewear and procedure (surgical) mask safely1 and place them in a lidded trash can (if available) or in closed containers or bags designated for this purpose and then dispose of them on arriving back at the station.
  • Disinfect reusable equipment (e.g. protective eyewear, if reusable) using a product recommended for this purpose.
  • Wash your hands or use an alcohol‑based hand sanitizer following the interaction.
  • If the other person exhibited symptoms (cough, fever or difficulty breathing) and skin-to-skin contact occurred, call 1‑877‑644‑4545 to find out if self-isolation is required.

This recommendation applies as a precaution due to the unpredictable nature of these types of interactions in an uncontrolled environment and the difficulty of obtaining reliable information from the persons involved.

Transporting an accused in the police vehicle:

  • If the person is coughing or exhibits difficulty breathing or fever (or chills), have him or her wear a procedure (surgical) mask while in the vehicle. If the person is uncooperative or cannot tolerate a mask (e.g. due to difficulty breathing), and if there is no divider between the front and back seats, the officers should continue wearing procedure (surgical) masks and protective eyewear while in the vehicle.

Responding to a call at the home of a person under investigation for COVID-19, a probable or confirmed case of COVID‑19, or a person exhibiting symptoms (cough, fever or difficulty breathing):

  • If an interaction of less than 2 metres from the person is necessary, BEFORE entering the room where the person is located, put on a procedure (surgical) mask, protective eyewear and gloves. Wear a long-sleeved (i.e. not short‑sleeved) shirt to cover the arms.
  • A visor that covers the entire face down to the chin may be used instead of protective eyewear.
  • Remove the gloves, protective eyewear and procedure (surgical) mask safely after leaving the room and dispose of them on-site (if a touchless lidded trash can is available) or place them in closed containers or bags designated for this purpose and dispose of the bags on arriving back at the station without opening them.
  • Disinfect reusable equipment (e.g. protective eyewear, if reusable) using a product recommended for this purpose.
  • Wash your hands or use an alcohol‑based hand sanitizer following the interaction.
  • If skin-to-skin contact occurs with a probable or confirmed case of COVID‑19, call 1‑877‑644‑4545 to find out if self-isolation is required.

Situations requiring use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or automated external defibrillator (AED):

In areas where sustained community transmission of COVID‑19 has been confirmed by local public health authorities, AED-equipped officers and first responders are to follow the directives of the National Medical Director of Pre-hospital Emergency Services


1 Remove gloves, clean hands using alcohol‑based sanitizer, remove protective eyewear, clean hands using alcohol‑based sanitizer, remove mask holding it only by the elastics without touching the paper and, lastly, clean hands using alcohol‑based sanitizer.

Notes: 

The preceding recommendations are based on the latest available information at the time of writing. The current situation and our knowledge concerning the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus are evolving rapidly, and the recommendations set out in this document.

Interim Recommendations Concerning Police Officers and Security Guards

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