Police assaults

Photos of assault injuries

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'.


Avon and Somerset

Assaulted officer quit job he "loved"
Officer let down by court


Head stapled after hit with object


Attacked by man armed with garden tools


Slashed across hand by knifeman


Left with PTSD after screwdriver attack
Hurt confronting kitchen knife-weilding man


CPS 'sending a poor message' to offenders


Traumatised after a frenzied attack
Eye socket and cheek bone shattered
Violent drunk let off with a caution

Devon and Cornwall

Left with life changing injuries


Drunk fought police on busy highway
Headbutted by boxer and traumatised


Punched, kicked, bitten and ligaments torn

Dyfed Powys

Police dog killed by rampaging man


Offender tried to gouge officer's eyes


Video: Knocked unconscious and left with head wound

Greater Manchester

Arrest left officer facing paralysis


Knocked unconscious and left in a ditch


Dragged into path of oncoming traffic


Thumb jammed in officer's eye during arrest


Strangled by '18 stone man'


Bitten by rough sleeper at airport


Norfolk - injured tackling shoplifter


Northants - stabbed in the hand

North Wales

North Wales - gripped in a headlock


Nottinghamshire - suspected hand fracture

South Wales

South Wales - set upon by a gang

South Yorkshire

Video: 'I'd rather be punched than spat on'


Teeth broken before a wedding


Tough to explain bruises to the kids


Video: Head-butted with force
Held hostage by man with knife
Car driven deliberately at officer


Beaten black and blue outside pub

Thames Valley

Horrific woodland attack


Played dead after 'acid attack'

West Midlands

Video: Spitting incident has far-reaching consequences

West Yorkshire

Video: Collar bone broken in brutal assault
Video: Teeth broken and confidence shattered
Video: Hit around the head with police radio
Video: Kicked in the face on Christmas Day
Surrounded by hostile crowd while with MP


Hit in the face with a chisel




How you can get behind the campaign