Increase in assaults against police officers in Avon and Somerset

PUBLISHED: 06:55 18 September 2018

An increasing number of police officers were assaulted while on duty last year.

An increasing number of police officers were assaulted while on duty last year.

Archant

Police officers in Avon and Somerset faced more than 700 assaults last year.

Figures from the Home Office have revealed there were 755 assaults against Avon and Somerset Constabulary officers between April 2017 and March this year – 236 of which resulted in injuries.

It is the first time assaults causing injury to police officers have been recorded separately from those against members of the public.

Police Federation chairman John Apter said the numbers are still unlikely to represent the scale of the problem.

He said: “Any attack on a police officer is unacceptable. And while I am glad the ONS and the Home Office are improving their data collation regarding assaults on police officers I do not believe that these figures represent anywhere near the true picture of the level of violence our members face on a daily basis.”

Mr Apter said there is still work to be done to ensure incidents are accurately recorded.

Andy Roebuck, chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “As a force we have seen an increase in the past two years by approximately 49 per cent.

“Nationally a police officer is assaulted every four minutes and we do not consider that acceptable.

“We need to understand why there has been a significant increase and we will be working with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to consider appropriate measures to protect our officers.”

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill will be passed into law this autumn. Under it, assaults committed against emergency workers will be taken into account when sentencing offenders, potentially leading to tougher sentences.

An Avon and Somerset police spokeman said: “Our officers routinely put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public but nobody should accept assault or abuse as part of their job.

“That is why we work hard to provide care and support for our officers. We have recently updated our internal process which has resulted in an increase in reporting. We offer support both physically and emotionally to any officer assaulted as well as pursuing criminal proceedings against perpetrators.”

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