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Hertfordshire Police Federation

More than 740 assaults on Herts officers

29 July 2021

More than 740 assaults were committed against Hertfordshire police officers last year, new figures have revealed.

Office for National Statistics data showed there were 152 attacks which left officers injured and 590 non-injury assaults which gives a total of 742 for the year ending in March 2021.

The statistics also show there were almost 37,000 assaults on police officers across all forces in England and Wales during the same 12-month period.

Of these, 11,235 were crimes of “assault with injury on a constable” while 25,734 were “assault without injury on a constable” - an increase of 21 per cent on the previous year.

Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell said: “The increase in assaults on police officers highlighted in these new figures is an absolute disgrace. This amounts to more than two assaults every day.

“Our members put their lives on the line serving and protecting their communities and they simply do not deserve to be treated with such aggression and hostility by members of the public

“Individuals who think it is acceptable to attack or abuse emergency services personnel must be made an example of by the courts and face the toughest possible sentences.

“As a society, we should be appalled that our police officers are routinely subjected to such violence. None of us should ever be punched, kicked, spat at and coughed while trying to do our jobs but, as the latest figures show, that is happening to our members  on a daily basis.”

Commenting on the Home Office figures, Police Federation national chair John Apter said: “Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed police officers being subjected to a disgusting level of violence. We now have the figures to prove just how dire the situation has been for my colleagues on the ground.

“More than 100 of my colleagues are assaulted every single day, that’s a staggering number and something society must not accept. Many of these recorded attacks involve vile individuals who have spat on or coughed at police officers, weaponising the virus and threatening to spread it to them and their families.

“The sentencing guidelines have been changed and I would urge 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 Government has pledged to increase the maximum sentence from 12 months to two years for assaults on emergency workers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

And for the first time, judges and magistrates in England and Wales will be given specific guidance for sentencing offenders convicted of assault on emergency service workers under new advice from the Sentencing Council.

In November 2018 the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act doubled the maximum penalty for common assault from six to 12 months.

The legislation covers police, prison staff, custody officers, firefighters, search and rescue workers and frontline health workers.

Assault can include acts such as a push, shove or being spat at, as well as more serious injuries that can lead to far longer sentences. 

 

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