Assaults on police officers are sadly commonplace. Our latest welfare survey data suggests there were more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over 12 months, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon during the same period. These figures estimate that an assault on a police officer happens every four minutes.
To assault a police officer, prison officer, or other emergency service worker is to attack society itself and should never be accepted as ‘part of the job’. Together with our partners, the British Transport Police Federation and Prison Officers’ Association, and supporters, we are campaigning for:
- sentences which provide an appropriate deterrent
- better training and access to equipment
- more accurate data on police assaults
- improved welfare support
- more consistent reporting of assaults on emergency services (as these are vastly under reported)
- training and access to body-worn video, Taser and spit and bite guards
On 13 November 2018 our campaign yielded a significant win as the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act became law. It makes it an offence to assault or sexually assault an emergency worker, punishable by up to 12 months in prison. While it does not give the Federation everything we wanted, we believe it to be a good start and a foundation on which to build.
You can read Ministry of Justice guidelines about the Act's provisions here.
The new law was the result of PFEW working with MPs and Lords across the political divide to ensure the issue of assaults on the emergency services could be debated in Parliament. We are particularly grateful to Rhondda MP Chris Bryant, who sponsored the Bill, and to Halifax MP Holly Lynch whose ride-along with PC Craig Gallant in West Yorkshire provided a catalyst for the campaign.
Officers have come forward from around the country to tell us the harsh realities of what they endure in the course of protecting the public, and the toll this can exact on their physical and mental wellbeing. We encourage you to read their stories below, and watch a short video of the Police Federation of England and Wales Chair, John Apter, giving his reaction to the establishment of a new law to 'Protect the Protectors'.
How you can get behind the campaign