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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Courts must punish those who assault emergency service workers, says Fed chair

11 January 2021

Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell says it’s essential emergency services workers have the full support of the criminal justice system to send out the message attacks on them are unacceptable.

Geoff was speaking as new figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) showed a 10 per cent increase in attacks on emergency personnel in November compared to the previous year.

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.”

“Any attack on an emergency services worker is unacceptable,” Geoff said. “But I’m appalled to see a 10 per cent rise in the number of assaults during November.

“It’s sickening that so many officers and other emergency service workers are being attacked just for doing their job, and attacked in a way that threatens their health and the health of their loved ones with the virus.

“This can’t be allowed to happen. We need the full backing of the criminal justice system when it comes to assaults on emergency workers to send out the clear message it’s totally unacceptable.”

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), has echoed Geoff’s comments following the release of the figures.

John 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.”

He said PFEW will continue to seek an increase in sentences for those who assault officers through its ‘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,” John added.

Other findings in the NPCC figures include:

  • Serious violent crime, including grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and personal robbery reduced by 20 per cent
  • Shoplifting was down 32 per cent
  • Vehicle crime fell by 22 per cent
  • Residential burglary was down by 23 per cent
  • In total, 32,329 fixed penalty notices have been recorded as having been issued in England and Wales under Coronavirus Regulations between Friday 27 March and Monday 21 December 2020.

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