Derbyshire Police Federation

Crime figures reveal rise in assaults on emergency service workers

4 June 2021

A 26 per cent rise in assaults against emergency workers revealed in new crime statistics is further evidence that the courts must hand down tougher sentences to those guilty of such attacks, says the chair of Derbyshire Police Federation.

And Tony said it is time that assaults on officers ceased to be considered part of the job.

The new figures were released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) yesterday with the rise in attacks thought to be driven by increases in common assaults on the police, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.

“Police officers and other emergency service workers should not be seen as society’s punchbags,” says Tony, “They have been on the frontline throughout the last 14 months, putting their health and safety at risk while continuing to serve the public and facing the added pressure of worrying about taking it home to their loved ones and particularly vulnerable family members. 

“The Federation has successfully campaigned for tougher sentences to be available to the courts when dealing with offenders who have attacked police officers and other emergency service workers but all too often we appear to see these individuals receiving far too lenient sentences; sentences that simply do not reflect the seriousness of their crimes.

“The courts have to use the maximum sentences available to them, both to punish offenders and also act as a deterrent to others.”

National Police Federation chair John Apter has also responded to the release of the figures.

He explained: “This increased level of violence is not just a one-off. It is becoming the new norm which is completely unacceptable. Violence in our society is not just a policing issue, all parts of Government and society itself must work together to combat this alarming increase.

“Part of this is ensuring those responsible for attacking police officers face a suitable deterrent in court. The sentencing guidelines have been changed, so we need judges and magistrates to use these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting our colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison. This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

The latest crime figures cover the four-week period ending 11 April 2021 and are compared with the equivalent period in 2019, rather than 2020. This is to allow comparisons with a more normal time-period, since the national lockdown in place at the same time last year (2020) was associated with notable reductions in demands on the police.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt commented: “The fall across most of these figures, compared to 2019, shows that we’re still seeing the impact of lockdown, despite the further easing of restrictions in May. That said, we are anticipating crime levels to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, as we did across the summer in 2020.”

He added: “The number of assaults against emergency workers continues to show a troubling rise. This is unacceptable. We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the frontline. Officers and staff are out in communities, working in challenging circumstances, and I am grateful for their continued hard work.”




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