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Number of serious attacks on police rises

Number of serious attacks on police rises

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 8th September 2019.

The number of serious attacks on police officers which result in injury has risen in Devon and Cornwall.

Home Office data shows that 204 assaults resulting in officer injuries were recorded by Devon and Cornwall Police in 2018-19, compared to 189 during the previous year.

The rise in such attacks is slightly smaller than that across England and Wales, where injuries to officers through assault increased 27% during the period, to around 10,400.

The data was published for the first time in 2017-18, when “assault with injury on a constable” became a new category of crime.

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched a campaign called #Unacceptable - to help stop assaults on emergency services workers.

Now an urgent review into police safety has been launched, with the Police Federation saying the attacks are 'completely unacceptable', and calling for a wider roll-out of tasers.

"The rise in assaults on our officers is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as just part of the job.

"The recent surge of serious, high-profile attacks is a serious concern, and the Federation will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers, supporting all frontline officers who want to carry one in passing the required assessments to do so.

"It is not a nice-to-have device – it is an essential piece of kit, which without doubt has saved the lives of officers and the public."

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales

But Mr Apter added that tasers were only part of the solution, and that society must not tolerate such behaviour towards the police.

Devon and Cornwall Police also recorded 327 assaults without injury on officers in 2018-19, down from 526 the previous year.

This bucks the trend across England and Wales - attacks without injury rose by 14% to just under 20,600.

police officer

Figures for assaults in which officers were not physically hurt go back further than those resulting in injuries, and show a rise of 43% since 2014-15.

The Home Office said the figures are likely to underestimate the total number of assaults in some forces, as many officers see it as part of the job, and do not report them.

"Officers should not have to face assault but we know there are risks in standing up to criminals and protecting our communities.

"Training, teamwork and public support give them the confidence to face those risks.

"I have commissioned an end-to-end review of officer safety – from training, to equipment, to the criminal justice outcomes when an officer is assaulted."

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman, Martin Hewitt

Last year, Parliament passed a new law to double the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers from six to 12 months.

"Being attacked should never be part of the job for our courageous police officers, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

"We are working with forces to recruit 20,000 more police officers over the next three years, and are committed to ensuring they have the resources, tools and powers they need to keep themselves and the public safe."

Home Office spokesperson

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