Police Federation

Chair calls police assault video ‘stomach churning’

John Apter describes filming of officers as ‘almost like a hobby for some now to video an attack’

11 June 2020

National Chair John Apter

National Chair John Apter

National Chair John Apter has reacted to the sickening assault on two police officers in east London after footage emerged on social media of the terrifying incident.

The video showed two brave officers appear to be set upon by group of men in Hackney, east London and was described by Home Secretary Priti Patel as: ‘sickening, shocking and disgraceful.’

In an interview on Radio 4 this morning, Mr Apter strongly condemned the incident and criticised people who: “stand by and video my colleagues in distress.”

Mr Apter said: “We’re seeing an officer who is trying to restrain somebody on the ground and his colleague the female officer is defending him and herself against a crowd. I say that with a note of caution because a number of things could be happening. But what is without doubt is those officers were at serious risk. This was truly stomach churning – it was horrific to watch. because you didn’t know what would come next.

“All credit to those officers for standing their ground. I’ve spoken with the Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan police, and have been told the officers are being well looked after.”

Mr Apter has raised the incident with Home Secretary Priti Patel. He added: “I did this, so the Home Secretary really understands the level of violence and the vulnerability of my colleagues - especially in a backdrop where policing and police officers have been vilified over recent days. Policing and police officers have been vilified over these past few days. The vast majority of officers are good people who are trying to do a really difficult job.”

There were on average 85 assaults per day on police in 2019-19 and members of the public are increasingly likely to video incidents.

Mr Apter said: “Many of them are videoed – it’s almost like a hobby for some now to video an attack on a police officer and put it on social media. This is not to assist an investigation but to mock my colleagues, and to almost encourage violence against them.

“I’m afraid to say this is not uncommon, this is an increasing problem. We’ve seen an increase in police officers being injured by 27% over the past 12 months, and this is why I’m working with the Home Secretary and others within policing to get increased sentences for those who assault my colleagues.

"We need to ensure we look after our colleagues much better.”

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