90 days from today is Mon, 21 December 2020
19 September 2018
Attacks on West Midlands Police officers are reaching ‘crisis’ levels – with at least 10 incident this year where officers have been close to being killed.
West Midlands Police Federation branch chair Rich Cooke has spoken out after a spate of incidents in which officers have been left seriously injured in the course of their duties.
And he has called for more officers to be given the right equipment to be able to protect themselves.
In one 36-hour period, six officers were injured across the Force and over one weekend in September five officers were hurt in two different incidents.
The rise in the number of officers being injured coincides with an increase in the number of people carrying weapons, knives and firearms on the streets.
Rich said: “I think officers feel more exposed than ever before. They are feeling like they haven’t necessarily got the right equipment to cope with the violence we are seeing in terms of knives and the potential to see a firearm. It seems we’re coming across them more regularly.
“We had an incident where we had an officer run over and left for dead, another officer left with a broken leg after a firearms pursuit. There are some really serious injuries.
“We’ve had 10 or so incidents this summer where if one factor had changed they could have been fatal.
“The fact is more and more officers are sustaining serious injuries and when there’s more serious injuries, there’s more chance of someone getting killed.”
He continues: “The only way the Force can help us is giving us the opportunity of having Taser available to all front-line officers and having a zero-tolerance approach to people who assault police officers.
“In the short-term, the officers need back-up and if they aren’t able to get boots on the ground, there needs to be extra equipment to support them.
“If, longer-term, we won’t get more boots on the ground, I think we are increasingly going to be moving towards arming our front-line police.”
Earlier this month, there was an incident in which an officer was left with a broken leg after a firearms pursuit and an officer was run over and left for dead with a serious head injury, punctured lung and broken ribs.
Just hours earlier an officer suffered back and neck injuries after a patrol car was rammed during a pursuit of a suspect in a shop robbery.
Of the 3,300 front-line officers in the Force, only around 850 are currently Taser-armed – with 1,400 planned by next year, says Rich.