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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

Police officer assaults have a ripple effect on officers' family and loved ones

1 June 2022

Every police assault has a ripple effect on that officers’ family and loved ones, Devon and Cornwall Police Federation has said, and officers should stress this in any impact statement following an attack.

Andy Berry said: “The impact on families after an officer is assaulted is often forgotten – the upset caused to partners, children and parents. We forget to the mental anguish that can be caused to officers even if the assault causes no visible injury.”

Andy is working with the force to drive down attacks on colleagues - and he said his last meeting of the Officer and Staff Safety Review Board was very positive.

Andy said: “Near to 1,000 officers and staff were assaulted in our two counties in the 12 months up to the end of April 2022. Thats 18 officers each week more than two a day, just for doing their job. It’s totally unacceptable.”

The Officer and Staff Safety Review Board is a strategic meeting chaired by an ACC and attended by practitioners in the room. Its remit is to ensure that everything that is possible and practical to minimise the amount and severity of assaults to officers and staff is done, Andy added.

Plans were made during the meeting to analyse where officers were most likely to be assaulted and how. The force will work with Magistrates to ensure they receive impact statements from officers and their families about assaults.

He added: “As Chair of the Devon and Cornwall Federation Branch, I do seem to spend much of my time attending force meetings. We try to promote a working environment that always places welfare at the forefront of decisions, push for a force where officers can aspire and achieve and that delivers practical policing where our members can successfully do what they joined to do – protect the public and put the bad people away.

“The majority of meetings though are focused on service delivery, ensuring targets are met, polices are complied with and all the usual stuff’ that a business has to focus on. But after the meeting of the Officer and Staff Safety Review Board, I genuinely felt that there was a real willingness to make real changes and improvements to support and protect our colleagues. There was also a wish to listen to officers and staff across the force to understand lived experience’ so there is a plan to set up an advisory group which consists solely of practitioners. For my part I look forward to continuing to leave these meetings with a smile on my face.”