Case study: Suffolk - tough to explain bruises

PC Andy Overton says the toughest part of his job is explaining to his young family why he gets so bruised.

During one year of his service he suffered a broken hand just before Christmas. He recalled: “My daughter was fve at the time and I had to try and tell her why Daddy has come home with a cast on his hand and all bruised.”

In that incident the perpetrator did at least receive a custodial sentence, but the inconsistent nature of punishment sometimes makes it even tougher to take.

“When you get spat on, sometimes you get £50 for it, but another time it’ll be £100,” he added. “And if they don’t pay the compensation, they never get chased for it. People seem to think it’s part of the job we should expect – which it isn’t.”

One of his colleagues was bitten and another kicked between the legs by a drunk and they got £150 and £200 compensation, but when PC Overton was similarly kicked, he was awarded £50. “It’s the same offence so how could the compensation be so different?” he said.

He said there are times he wonders if it’s worth putting on the uniform and making himself a target. “There’s not many other jobs when you can be attacked because of what you’re wearing. It’s been mentioned in the courts, that we should expect that. It seems accepted that we should take verbal abuse and being assaulted.”

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