Police Federation

‘Unacceptable and appalling’ rise in assaults on emergency workers

30 September 2020

Stock image of officer

Stark statistics which show that assaults on emergency service workers rose by 29 per cent in August compared to the same period last year have been condemned by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

Reacting to the NPCC's release of provisional figures which highlight how crime has changed since the pandemic began, PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “These statistics show an unacceptable and appalling 29 per cent increase in assaults on emergency service workers, compared to the same period last year. Given that police officers are doing their level best to help protect people during this pandemic, some people need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their behaviour.

"Being assaulted as a frontline worker, whether that’s police, fire, health or prison, must not be tolerated and those who do so must feel the full weight of the criminal justice system come down on them.”

Other findings include:

  • Mental health incidents were up five per cent in the reporting period
  • Police recorded crime was three per cent lower than in the same period in 2019
  • Reported rape saw a four per cent rise
  • Recorded domestic abuse incidents increased by seven per cent

Mr Apter continued: “The recent return to pre-COVID crime levels comes as no surprise, as during lockdown there were fewer people out and therefore less opportunities to commit crime. Regrettably, I am not surprised either to see the rise in the number of call outs for mental health incidents. This has been steadily increasing year on year and the police are often seen as the first port of call when people need help.

“My colleagues will continue to do their job to the best of their ability, but as I have said many times before, there is no magic box of extra officers waiting to be opened, and undoubtedly policing will struggle with this increased demand,” he concluded.

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