2 October 2020
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has described a steep rise in the number of assaults on emergency services workers as “sickening”.
New figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show a staggering 29 per cent increase in assaults on emergency services workers in the four weeks to 30 August compared to the same period in 2019.
A report from the NPCC said: “It is thought the rise may be driven by increases in common assaults on police constables, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.”
Tony explained: “It’s sickening to see a 29 per cent rise in assaults on emergency services personnel - Not least because we know that in many instances the threat of Covid-19 is being used as a weapon by people spitting or coughing at our colleagues while claiming to have the virus.We have seen this happen to colleagues in Derbyshire during the pandemic and it is utterly deplorable and despicable.
“We need to see the full weight of the law being used to send out the message that any assault on a police officer or another front-line worker will not be tolerated.”
The NPCC figures show that crime trends have returned close to pre-lockdown levels. After a 28 per cent reduction at the height of lockdown, police recorded crime is now three per cent lower than in the same period in 2019.
Mental health incidents were up five per cent in this reporting period, the NPCC said, reported rape saw a four per cent rise and domestic abuse incidents increased by seven per cent.
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The recent return to pre-Covid crime levels comes as no surprise, as during lockdown there were fewer people out and therefore less opportunities to commit crime.
“Regrettably, I am not surprised either to see the rise in the number of call outs for mental health incidents. This has been steadily increasing year on year and the police are often seen as the first port of call when people need help.
“My colleagues will continue to do their job to the best of their ability, but as I have said many times before, there is no magic box of extra officers waiting to be opened, and undoubtedly policing will struggle with this increased demand.”