Chiefs to back assaulted officers
12 January 2018
West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson. Photo credit West Midlands Police
Plans for Chiefs to personally issue ‘impact statements’ for every prosecution concerning the assault of an officer or member of the police staff have been welcomed by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).
The moves come in line with calls for better protection for officers as part of the PFEW’s Protect the Protectors campaign which is tackling the issue of assaults on emergency service workers.
West Midlands Police’s Chief Constable Dave Thompson announcement today, 12 January, follows the suit of some other Chiefs who are ensuring that impact statements get heard in courts where cases of officers being assaulted are being held.
The impact statements, written by the chief will be used during sentencing and allow the judge to take into consideration the impact the assault has had on the force, the officer’s family and the public. They will be used in conjunction with statements from the victim.
PFEW chair Calum Macleod said the news was welcomed and hoped all chiefs would follow suit. “To assault a police officer, or other emergency service worker is to attack society itself and should never be accepted as ‘part of the job.’ Individual victim impact statements have long been used to help courts understand the affects this has on those directly involved but this takes it a step further. The impact of assaults on police officers not only affects the individual concerned, but their families and friends and the service as a whole. When officers are assaulted they may need time off to recover, which in turn affects staffing levels at a time when officers numbers are at an all-time low. That in turn affects the demands on the officers who remain on duty and in the end the service to the public is further depleted. I hope this goes a long way to reinforcing the message that assaults on our officers are completely unacceptable and the impact is much wider.”
West Midlands is following suit of other forces who have already adopted this approach and the PFEW wants all Chiefs to sign up to doing the same.
“It is good news that some Chiefs are already doing this but it would be better if all did. It is something we will push with the National Police Chief’s Council to see if they will drive it forward further if they are not already do so,” said Mr Macleod.
More information can be found on the Protect The Protectors campaign page.