90 days from today is Mon, 17 January 2022
30 July 2021
616 Norfolk Police officers were assaulted last year. That’s nearly 12 a week.
Nationally, there were 36,969 assaults on police officers in England & Wales last year. That’s a 20%+ national rise.
It works out as 720 assaults a week, 101 assaults on police officers every day and more than 4 assaults every hour.
Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said: “The officers I represent here in Norfolk are committed people doing an immensely difficult job day after day. They work their fingers to the bone to get the job done, to secure a conviction, to remand a dangerous suspect, to find a high risk missing child/person, to take a person to a place of safety and look after them until medics arrive, to drive seriously injured people to hospital as there are no ambulances available.
“They work on what should be their rest days as there isn’t enough of us to police a public event or protest. They have their shifts changed at short notice to cover gaps. On top of all of this they are then assaulted on a regular basis and sometimes seriously. Is it any wonder why police officers are stressed, beaten, exhausted and fed up with being treated as punch bags by not only those offenders that attack them physically but by this Government who cannot event give them a pay rise.”
Andy added: “616 of my colleagues have been assaulted on duty in the year ending March 2021. Nationally it equates to a 21% rise from 31,000 to 37,000 assaults. I get to see the daily returns from the shift before and without fail I see more of my colleagues attacked for just doing their job.
“I am now seeing the level of injuries sustained becoming more serious. I support those officers when sadly the violence they were subjected to means they are off work for months and months. The worry they feel about if the injury will ever heal properly and be back to full fitness. The anger that they feel when the injury means they can either no longer do a frontline role or sadly have to be ill health retired. Many of the offenders found guilty of these attacks never end up in prison. But the ripple effect of their violent attacks on my colleagues lasts well beyond that moment when they were attacked, sometimes years after.”
11,235 police officers were injured when the public assaulted them over the past year – that’s 30 injuries to police officers every single day of the year.
Andy added: “We have worked hard lobbying Government under the banner of ‘Protect The Protectors’ and have managed to move things along in terms a new law and an increased sentences for those that attack my colleagues.
“This has not had the impact that it should have and therefore I’m pleased to see that new legislation is planned to increase these sentences further. We’ve lobbied for changes to the sentencing guidelines issues to the courts. However what we now need to see is judges and magistrates using these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting my colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison.
“In addition we need to see an end to CPS plea bargaining and agreeing to drop assault charges on the proviso that the suspect pleads guilty to a lesser charge.
“I have taken cases up on behalf of officers whose case has either been dropped or the sentence has been woefully inadequate and we need to keep doing this in raiding and highlighting these types of cases if we hope to effect change.
“We have to make sure that the support services both physical and mental are available to officers who have been assaulted.
“There is no getting away from the fact that policing is inherently dangerous at times, so we’ll never get to a position in which no officers are assaulted. It’s about making sure that when it does happen, both the force and us as a Federation give the wrap around support to those officers. It should be like one of our family has been assaulted and we should give this level of care and support to them. It is a family, we are the ‘thin blue line’ that works together to keep order and protect the vulnerable. We still haven’t got this consistently right and therefore I will keep working to improve these support services available to officers when they need them.
“We are now starting to have conversations with the force on implementing the recommendations from the review into Officer Safety. One of these recommendations includes increasing the personal safety training (PST) training from 1 day to 2 days per year. It can only be a positive for officers to be bale to increase the time in which they practise and refresh their skills in keeping themselves safe and reduce to risk of attack and injury.
“We also have to be cognisant of the fact that these figures have been announced within a few days of this Government refusing to dip its hand into their pocket and giving them a fair pay rise. They are happy to speak nice words and tell us that officers are brave, committed and face unprecedented assaults which are all very true, but refuse to give them a rise to be able to put food on the table and pay their bills.”