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Hertfordshire Police Federation

New crime figures: assaults on emergency workers show increase

4 June 2021

A 26 per cent increase in assaults on emergency workers demonstrates why the courts must give out far tougher sentences to those convicted of these attacks.

That is the view of Hertfordshire Police Federation secretary Al Wollaston.

Al spoke out after the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) published new crime figures for England and Wales yesterday. The increase is thought to be driven by an upturn in common assaults on the police, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.

“For far too long it seems to have become accepted that police officers, and other emergency service workers, will get assaulted as part of their job and this simply cannot be allowed to continue,” says Al.

“During the various lockdowns imposed as we tried to cope with the pandemic, crime has generally fallen but here we are again seeing a further increase in assaults on emergency workers – the very people who have selflessly been on the frontline, serving their communities despite the risks to their own health.

“The courts now have the ability to give out longer custodial sentences and they must now use the powers they have been given.”

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.”





September 2022