POLICE officers should not go to work to be assaulted.
That was the message from Wiltshire Police’s new assistant chief constable, Maggie Blyth, last night. Speaking after shocking footage of the attack on PC Mat Baker was played on BBC1, the senior officer said: “We take these sorts of incidents most seriously. Our workforce is our most important asset. They’re a workforce we will do everything we can to protect.”
Figures released last year revealed the number of Wiltshire officers reporting they had been assaulted had doubled in 12 months to 103 incidents. Asst Ch Const Blyth said: “Over the last year there’s been a significant amount of work done in Wiltshire to highlight this terrible increase in assaults on police officers who are there to protect the public and local communities and shouldn’t be going to work to be assaulted.”
Wiltshire Police was introducing measures like spit guards, a kind of mosquito net-like hood designed to catch spittle, and more Tasers to protect cops.
She added: “I think body-worn video is a really important new measure which means officers might be more confident to arrest and record what’s been captured.”
Insp Mark Andrews of Wiltshire Police Federation called on the courts to hand out longer sentences to those who attack emergency workers: “The judiciary has certain powers and they’re choosing not to use those powers. I believe, as does the Police Federation, that anyone who assaults a police officer should go to prison.”