16 June 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says members are “never on their own” as he welcomed the work of Operation Hampshire in tackling assaults on officers and staff.
Tony said that Derbyshire Police Federation was firmly behind the Op Hampshire campaign and its aim of improving outcomes for members who had been attacked.
He said: “Police officers deserve to be able to go to work without expecting to be attacked. It is no more a “part of the job” for police officers than it is for any other walk of life - and it mustn’t be tolerated.
“There has almost been a culture of acceptance - that being pushed, shoved, spat on and abused was part of the role – and that can’t be right.
“Operation Hampshire is improving the way assaults are reported and understood. It’s changing that culture for the better and we’re right behind it.
“Our members need to know that if they’re the victim of an assault they’re never on their own.”
Derbyshire Police Federation’s most recent pay and morale survey showed that assaults on members have risen in the past two years.
The number of officers who experienced verbal insults at least once a week went up from 30 per cent in 2020 to 39 per cent in 2022. Physical attacks rose from by one per cent to 13 per cent in the same period while threats went up from 23 per cent to 24 per cent.
Tony said: “Assaults on our members is clearly a big issue and there’s still much work to be done. We need officers to record every single assault on them so that we have accurate information about what’s actually going on, on the streets and in people’s homes, and to ensure that every assaulted officer gets the support they need and deserve.
“We then need those assaults investigating in line with the Op Hampshire seven-point plan and it’s crucial that CPS and the Courts properly hold offenders to account.
“But through Operation Hampshire we’re trying to get the message to members that the support and advice they need is there and that those who attack officers will be brought to justice.”
His comments have been echoed by Steve Hartshorn, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, who described Operation Hampshire as a “legacy project in policing”.
Op Hampshire aims to provide a consistent approach to wellbeing support and victim care following an assault, consider the potential impact of every attack, increase criminal justice outcomes and improve overall understanding of assaults on officers.
Nearly three years after its launch, Op Hampshire has a network of project leads across each force. It’s now a priority workstream for the National Police Wellbeing Service, Oscar Kilo, the Police Covenant and has been adopted by UNISON. The strategy has also been backed by Chris Philp, the Crime and Policing Minister.
Dave Brewster, the national Op Hampshire Coordinator
Steve said: “While Op Hampshire is primarily still focussing on officer assaults, it’s giving our members so much more than that - you have to look at the bigger picture.
“The data we collect will educate us, which in turn will help us provide better training and communications.
“I genuinely believe we can get the public’s confidence in the police back and it will be through projects like Op Hampshire,” he added.
Dave Brewster, the national Op Hampshire Coordinator, has built a network of leads to represent every force and share knowledge and experiences.
He said: “My goal is that every assault on a police officer or member of staff is recorded, investigated and then those involved are given the correct support they need.
“Even if they don’t think that they need support, I believe everyone should at least be offered it.”
Dave said that many offenders believe they can attack officers with impunity.