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