11 January 2021
A rise in the number of assaults on emergency workers driven by the weaponisation of Covid-19 has been described as “appalling” by the chair of Derbyshire Police Federation.
Now Tony Wetton is calling for tougher sentences for thugs who assault, cough or spit at emergency staff.
Tony’s comments come as new figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show a 10 per cent rise in assaults on emergency services personnel during November compared to the same period in 2019.
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 said: “It’s absolutely appalling that people would seek to weaponise Covid-19 and spit and cough at emergency workers just for doing their job.
“Our members and their colleagues across the emergency services have done a fantastic job throughout this pandemic, so it’s disgusting to see such a large rise in the numbers of attacks on them.
“We need the courts to pass down the toughest possible sentences to anyone convicted of such attacks. We need to send out the message that this is not acceptable. It needs to stop,” he added.
Tony’s comments have been backed by John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).
He said: “I’m disgusted to see this appalling increase as Covid-19 continues to spread. These figures will include many police officers being spat at and coughed at by vile individuals who weaponise the virus, which threatens their health and that of their families.
“It’s disgustingly offensive that 999 workers, who are working so hard to protect the public throughout this crisis, are being attacked and assaulted in this way. People need to remember that these emergency workers are mums and dads, and sons and daughters who have families to go home to at the end of a shift.
“Those who commit these despicable offences must be harshly dealt with by the courts and face the full force of the law. PFEW will continue our campaign to increase sentences against those who assault us through our ‘Protect The Protectors’ campaign.
“It is vital to ensure courts issue tougher sentences to those who assault emergency service workers. If you assault a police officer you should expect to spend time in prison, no ifs, no buts.”
Other findings in the NPCC figures include: