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20 April 2017
Police officers attacked almost five times a week
POLICE officers in Wiltshire are being attacked at a rate of almost five a week, according to figures obtained by the Journal.
More than 700 assaults on police staff have been recorded in the county over the past three years, and the figure is rising.
In 2014, 218 police employees were victims of physical abuse.
But by 2016 that figure had risen to 250, an increase of almost 13 per cent.
And figures specific to Salisbury have been steadily increasing over the last three years, from 19 assaults in 2014, to 28 assaults in 2016.
In the period from 2014-16, 71 assaults on police officers were recorded in Salisbury beat codes.
Amesbury had the second highest figure, and also showed an increase, with 26 assaults in three years (6 in 2014, 9 in 2015 and 11 in 2016).
David Ibbott, chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation said it was the "harsh reality" that officers faced "extraordinary situations and risks" every day, which can happen "in the blink of an eye".
A 2016 survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales showed that 26 per cent of Wiltshire Police officers had been verbally assaulted at least once a week, and 21 per cent subjected to an unarmed physical attack at least once a month.
Nationally, the survey estimated that 2.4m officers were assaulted over a 12 month period.
Inspector Ibbott added that an assault on a police officer "should never be seen as a part of the role they perform for the public".
He said: "We are not satisfied that the legal system treats these matters with the severity they deserve and that is why as part of the national Protect the Protectors campaign, we are calling for a change in legislation, leading to tougher sentences for those who assault emergency service workers, better training and access to equipment – wider roll-out of protection measures, such as body worn video and improved welfare support."