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Wiltshire Police Federation

Assaults on officers ‘a stain on society’ says Chair

3 June 2021

Polfed News

The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales has responded to new crime figures which show a 26 per cent rise in assaults against emergency workers.

John Apter said: “We have seen a consistent increase in violence against emergency workers during the pandemic with the vast majority of these assaults being against police officers. At the same time other crime types have fallen.

“This increased level of violence is not just a one off. It is becoming the new norm which is completely unacceptable. Violence in our society is not just a policing issue, all parts of Government and society itself must work together to combat this alarming increase. Part of this is ensuring those responsible for attacking police officers face a suitable deterrent in Court. The sentencing guidelines have been changed, so we need judges and magistrates to use these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting our colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison. This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

Mr Apter was responding to figures released today (Thursday) by the National Police Chiefs Council relating to England and Wales. They include among the rise in common assaults, suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.

Overall, the figures show a nine per cent reduction in recorded crime in the four weeks to 11 April 2021 than compared to the same period as 2019. Sustained falls in crime have been recorded throughout periods of national lockdown, with crime only rising during the summer months of 2020.

NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt commented: “We are anticipating crime to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, as we did across the summer in 2020. The number of assaults against emergency workers continues to show a troubling rise. This is unacceptable. We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line.”

The figures show the national absence rate for officers and staff remains low at four per cent.