The Police Federation’s on-going campaign to ‘Protect The Protectors’, is continuing its calls for a change in legislation; tougher sentencing; better training and access to equipment; more accurate data on police assaults; and improved welfare support.

Physical and verbal assaults on police officers are commonplace. Incidents are often under-reported and historically it has been difficult to determine the scale of the issue and national picture. Andy Symonds, Chairman of the Norfolk Police Federations says “officers are simply fed up of turning up for duty in an ever demanding job, working dam hard to protect only to be punched, kicked, and scratched, head-butted and spat at. Officers want protection in the form of a deterrent from the courts when they sentence offenders.”

In Norfolk 390 officers were assaulted between 1/4/16 to 31/3/17, that’s over 1 officer assaulted every single day of the year.

However, Norfolk Police Federation believes the actual number is higher since some officers do not report crimes committed against them because they feel violence is an inevitable part of the job. Andy Symonds, Chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation Branch says “unfortunately we have experienced an increase in the level of violence shown towards officers; recently we have had an officer suffer broken fingers in an attack. Other injuries include black eyes, bruising and concussion. I’ve been in contact with a female officer who has been assaulted 4 times during the month of December”

Andy continued “our officers are not robots; they are human beings who wear a uniform with pride to protect the vulnerable, keep people safe and in doing so put their own safety and mental wellbeing at risk. They are also someone’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. I spoke to a female officer recently who told me that she had to lie to her children about the bruising she sustained after an attack”

Officers accept that they work in a role that will see them dealing with people who are agitated, distressed or confused. Police officers are not there to act as punch bag for members of the public and if someone assaults a police officer, spits at them or scratches them in any way they should expect a harsh sentence from the courts.

Andy continued “I’ve spoken with officers who’ve been spat at in the face by offenders who have blood in their salvia. Some of these offenders have communicable diseases such as Hep C. Spitting is a truly disgusting and demeaning act which means officers have to go for blood tests and wait for some results for up to 6 months to find out if they’ve contracted anything”

Norfolk Police Federation is backing the continuing national Police Federation campaign calling on MPs to back the police service and support calls for tougher sentencing for those who assault police officers, police staff and other emergency service personnel.

Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, is helped with the campaign and has raised her concerns in Parliament on numerous occasions.

A change in the law to better protect emergency service workers, assaulted for simply doing their job, could be a step closer to reality due to A Private Members Bill, put forward by Chris Bryant MP, which received its second reading in Parliament on 20th October 2017.

The bill incorporates many of the provisions that the Police Federation of England Wales (PFEW) and partner staff associations have been calling for as part of the Protect the Protectors campaign. It will aim to introduce new offences including malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm and common assault aggravated when carried out against a constable, firefighter, doctor, paramedic, nurse or people assisting them in their duties.

Chair, Andy Symonds has had meetings with most of Norfolk MP’s to invite their support for this important issue. “I do hope that all of the Norfolk MP’s attend the future debates and vote in favour giving officers and other emergency service workers better protection”

Police officers play a vital role in society. But should not expect to come to work and be assaulted. Norfolk Federation welcomed the introduction of Body Worn Video in the summer last year which we hope will reduce the number of assaults and provide protection to our members. The images the BWV captures of police officers being assaulted will help convict offenders and hope that when Judges and Magistrates actually view some of these shocking images they will punish the offenders properly.

Nationally it’s been estimated that more than 23,000 officers are assaulted every year, but now estimations based on our latest welfare survey data suggest that there were potentially more than 2 million (2,113,602) unarmed physical assaults on officers over 12 months, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon during the same period.

Notes to editors

Andy Symonds is happy to have contact with any journalists that would be interested in speaking with some of the officers that have been assaulted so that they can share their experiences with you.

*This is based on the Police Federation of England and Wales’ welfare survey data that suggests there were potentially more than two million (2,113,602) unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12 month period, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon during the same period. The results are from further analysis from last years’ Officer Demand, Capacity, and Welfare Survey, undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) last year. Approximately 17,000 officers completed the online survey. PFEW is seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection. More information can be found at www.polfed.org/assaults

The Police Federation of England and Wales, represents almost 122,000 police officers up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector. Established by statute, it is responsible not only for the welfare of our members, but also ensuring that their views on all aspects of policing, including relevant legislation, are relayed to government, opinion formers and key stakeholders.  The Police Federation’s membership status currently stands at 98%. For more information visit www.polfed.org

Pay and Morale Press Release August 2017 (PDF)

Six years on from the current Government reforming Policing and taking the country through austerity is starting to take its toll on front line officers. Although the current Chief Constable, Simon Bailey and his command team have endeavoured to maintain front line numbers of officers, workloads are increasing in both the patrol and station duties of front line officers resulting in many rank-and-file police officers in Norfolk being severely affected by the stress of the job and an increased number suffering from poor psychological wellbeing.

This is the reality that came out following further analysis on results from a survey into police officer demand, capacity and welfare conducted by the Police Federation of England and Wales last year.

Over 360 officers in Norfolk responded to the survey. 

  • The survey found that two thirds of officers thought their workload too high.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have enough officers to manage all the demands made on their team, with many having to forego their full rest breaks on a regular basis.
  • Due to the rural geography of the county, 80% of officers reported being single crewed either often or always over the previous 12 months, compared to the national figure of 73%.
  • Most officers stated that they have had 2 or more days off cancelled in the previous 12 months and some reported not being able to take their full entitlement of annual leave in the year.
  • 81% of Norfolk officers stated that they had experienced stress, low mood, anxiety, or other difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing over the previous 12 months. With almost all of these indicating that these feelings were caused or made worse by work.

So how will the precept help? Norfolk Constabulary is in need of more officers to just to replace the number of officers who have reached retirement age or are leaving for other reasons. The Force will be recruiting hard through the coming months and possibly years to maintain the number of officers to where they should be.

Andy Symonds, Chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, which represents the counties officers up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector has said ‘The figures revealed by the survey both locally and nationally may appear startling but they are no surprise to us. Although Norfolk officers are better off than their colleagues in some other counties, we have been saying for some time that the changes the Government has made to policing have unintended consequences. Our officers are relieved that with the precept on policing being raised again, it will go some way to relieve the stress and pressure of current staff by allowing the Force to recruit more front line officers, which in turn will hopefully decrease stress and lower sickness rates.’

Assistance to current serving officers is also being stepped up through charities such as The National Federation’s Welfare Support Programme, involvement with MIND’s Blue light, and ongoing work with forces, police charities and other representative bodies. This work is directly helping to make a positive difference to officers and their families and is paving the way to fill the gaps in diminished national health support services.

Andy Symonds continued “Officers are increasingly expected to deal with all manner of things that many other people would walk away from and other public services should be dealing with. Officers are extremely busy throughout their shifts and are working regular overtime, and so it is fundamentally important that officers need to feel that they can speak out when they need help and they can have confidence that the service will treat them with the utmost dignity and discretion to help get them back on track. We are grateful that the Force‘s Senior Officers and the Police and Crime Commissioner understand but the findings of the survey are a reality for the Government and MP’s of all parties whom must sit up and listen before it is too late”

Notes to Editors

*All percentages based on those who responded.

The results are from further analysis from last years’ Officer Demand, Capacity, and Welfare Survey, undertaken by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).  Approximately 17,000 officers completed the online survey.

A campaign by the Police Federation of England and Wales to Protect The Protectors starts in earnest on 6 February and is just one area where the organisation is seeking a change in legislation so that officers who are assaulted in the course of their duties are afforded better protection.  More information can be found at www.polfed.org/assaults

The Police Federation of England and Wales, represents almost 122,000 police officers up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector. Established by statute, it is responsible not only for the welfare of our members, but also ensuring that their views on all aspects of policing, including relevant legislation, are relayed to government, opinion formers and key stakeholders.  The Police Federation’s membership status currently stands at 98%. For more information visit www.polfed.org

The recruitment lines open again on 13th March for Constable recruits for both Norfolk and Suffolk.

Andy Symonds, Chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation, on behalf of all its members wishes to pass our prayers and thoughts to the family, friends and colleagues of PC Keith Palmer.

Andy Symonds says “We stand united as a police service and officers within Norfolk have already expressed their absolute admiration for the hero PC Keith Palmer, who gave his life to protect others. He ran towards the danger not knowing what was going to happen.”

6th February 2017

It is now estimated that an assault on a police officer happens every four minutes*

This is a shocking statistic that further supports the Police Federation of England and Wales’ call to better protect those who risk their lives to protect us.

6th February 2017

Since 2009 police service has lost a staggering 21,494 officers and things are getting worse – latest figures from the government dated 30th September 2016 show the largest drop in officer numbers for the past 3 years.

Over half of police officers up to the rank of Chief Inspector that responded to the recent Pay & Morale Survey in Norfolk stated that their own personal morale was low. The stand out figure was that 94.6% of rank and file police officers in Norfolk stated that morale in their force was low.