Derbyshire Police Federation

Officer assaults rise as crime falls

22 June 2020

Assaults on emergency service workers have increased by 24 per cent despite a drop in crime.

Police recorded crime across England and Wales fell by 18 per cent in the four weeks until 7 June this year when compared with the same period last year, according to provisional figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

However, assaults on emergency service workers have increased by 24 per cent.

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, commenting on the newly released figures, said: “Of course, any drop in crime is something we will all welcome. But I am appalled that the number of assaults on police officers and other emergency service workers is still increasing. I think an attack on someone who is dedicated to public service is disgusting at any time but when you consider the current pandemic it just makes it even more so.

“Police officers have been on the front-line during the COVID-19 crisis and yet we have heard about so many cases where they have been spat at or coughed over by people claiming to have the virus. What is wrong with these people? I just hope that they are brought before the courts and receive the toughest sentences possible.”

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has also hit out at those carrying out these assaults.

“I do not accept any excuses for this rise - any violence shown towards police officers or any emergency workers must be taken seriously by the criminal justice system and should send the message that this is completely unacceptable,” he explained.

The provisional figures published by the NPCC do show that crime may be starting to increase again.

The 18 per cent fall recorded most recently compares to a 28 per cent fall for the four weeks to 12 April and the 25 per cent fall for the four weeks to 10 May. This is put down to the effect of lockdown restrictions easing and more people being allowed out of their homes, creating more opportunities for criminals.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: “The vast majority of the public have followed the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus and, as a result, we have seen sustained reductions in crime over the course of the lockdown period. It is no surprise that as more people are able to move around freely, we will begin to see movement towards previous levels, however this is a gradual change. We are reassured to still be observing significant falls in crime overall.”

 

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