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Wiltshire Police Federation

Federation Chairman reacts to extremely disappointing compensation order handed to man who threatened to gouge out officers eye

18 November 2020

Wiltshire Police Federation has called a compensation order of just £40 for an officer who was assaulted and threatened with having his eye gouged out ‘extremely disappointing’.

Cameron Mackay, 32, of Rollestone Street, Salisbury, admitted one charge of assaulting an emergency worker, PC Phillip Bridge, in Westbury at Salisbury Magistrates Court.

The court heard while the officer was talking to the defendant during an incident on Christmas Eve 2018 he experienced a "sharp blow" to the face - knocking his glasses to the floor. A threat to "gouge" his eyes out was also shouted.

Mackay was ordered to pay just £40 in compensation to the officer.

Wiltshire Police Federation Chairman Mark Andrews called the attack ‘vicious’ and said the decision flew in the face of recent more robust sentences which have been handed down for assaults on officers.

"I’m extremely disappointed - we’ve recently seen good, robust sentencing from our magistrates in relation to officers who were bitten by offenders over the last couple of months and we’ve seen offenders receive custodial sentences for those offences,” he said.

“We are fighting hard within the Federation to have an extension of existing sentencing powers for attacks on emergency services workers.

“At the moment it’s 12 months, and we’re hoping to get that increased to two years. But we could get it increased to a life sentence, if our magistrates are not willing to use custodial sentences, especially for such a terrible, vicious threat to an officer like gouging their eyes out.

“If they’re not willing to protect us then it sends the wrong message to our officers that they’re not worth it and it sends the wrong message to the public that they can do what they like with us and get away with it,” Mark added.

“This [sentence] is completely unacceptable, and I push for all magistrates to use the sentencing power which is given to them.”

In Wiltshire, three officers are attacked and assaulted every week, often leaving them with injuries of one sort or another.

They only way the volume of assaults on emergency service workers will be reduced will be through severe deterrents and sentences that send out a message to would-be assailants, Mark added.

“I’m hoping  if we put enough pressure on magistrates and we give them enough examples of officers who have been through the mill, who have suffered not only physical assaults but also the mental anguish of having to cope with these types of threats,  that they’ll listen to us and they’ll start sentencing people,” he said.

“Then we can make a real dent into the number of assaults which are happening to our officers throughout the country.

“In Wiltshire we have three officers attacked almost every week, it’s totally unacceptable. It should be recognised that attacking a police officer is an attack on society and should come with the same level of sentencing.”