JUDGES must use their full sentencing powers to punish criminals who assault officers, the chair of West Midlands Police Federation has stated.
Jon Nott, who represents the West Midlands’ rank and file police officers, railed against new assault statistics which showed 20,000 incidents of assault against emergency service workers last year.
National data from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) revealed it had prosecuted more than 50 assaults a day in the first year since a new law came into effect making it a specific offence to attack an emergency services worker.
Mr Nott said: “I find it shocking that each and every day 50 of the very people who seek to help others in their time of need find themselves subjected to violence simply for doing their job.
“These new figures show that in 90 per cent of these cases the victims were police officers. An attack on a police officer is an attack on society itself and therefore anyone convicted of these assaults should feel the full weight of the law so that they are punished for their crime but also to serve as a deterrent to others.
“On a daily basis here in the West Midlands, we are hearing of officers who are being assaulted at work. Just two days into this year, we saw a woman jailed after biting one of our officers and assaulting another in an incident in the opening minutes of 2020.
“Our officers suffer physical injuries in these attacks that take them away from their duties but there is also a psychological impact and many can find it difficult to return to serving their communities through fear of being assaulted again.”
The CPS found nine in ten assaults were against police officers – almost always when the attacker was intoxicated on drink or drugs and being arrested for an unrelated offence.
Spitting was common but the violence perpetrated was wide-ranging and included kicking, punching, head-butting, slapping and biting.
Mr Nott added: “All too often, I am hearing officers saying it’s just part of the job but it’s not and nor should it ever be accepted. We need the courts to use the legislation and send a clear message that an assault on a police officer or other emergency services worker will not be tolerated.”
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Emergency workers provide a vital public service – the fact they endure vile abuse like spitting and even physical assault in the course of their duties is appalling and unacceptable. These attacks must never be considered as ‘just part of the job’.
“These are serious crimes and it is encouraging to see our prosecutors have used the new legal powers to bring offenders to justice.
“Having been made aware of police concerns during the first year of this new legislation, I have met with senior officers and the CPS has updated legal guidance to strengthen our approach to these appalling offences.”