27 June 2022
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says it’s “unacceptable” for officers to face violent assaults in the line of duty.
Tony said tough sentences are needed to protect frontline workers and to send out a message that attacks on them won’t be tolerated.
“As a Federation, we’ve long campaigned for tough sentences to be imposed on anyone convicted of attacking a police officer,” said Tony.
“It’s unacceptable for our members to face violence and the threat of violence in their work. Tough sentences send out the message that such attacks won’t be tolerated and the message to frontline workers that we’re on their side.”
Tony’s comments follow the publication of a report by the charity Transform Justice ‘Protect the protectors? Do criminal sanctions reduce violence against police and NHS staff?’.
The report states it takes a closer, evidence-based look at increased penalties for assaults against emergency workers and demonstrates the ineffectiveness of this approach on any level.
Steve Hartshorn, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, took part in a panel discussion to coincide with the report’s launch which asked: ‘Will harsher sanctions reduce assaults on police and NHS workers?’
Asked of his personal experience of officers being assaulted when on duty, Steve said: “I have been assaulted countless times and, to go back to when I first started as a new officer in 1995, there was an ethos then that it was part of the job.
“It was in the early 2000s I think and, there was a court case where a judge basically reaffirmed that it was part the job to get assaulted but it never felt right because everyone has a right to go to work and to be treated properly. We accept that at times policing can be a contact sport, certainly if you are a frontline officer dealing with the public.
“It’s the minority of the public that cause these assaults on officers and it does leave lasting effects on police officers.”