Courts Need To Take Officer Assaults Seriously

COURTS need to hand down harsher sentences to those who assault police officers, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield was responding to new figures showing that 37,000 physical assaults on police officers took place across England and Wales in the year ending March 2022, with figures expected to increase even further for the next year.

Zoë said: “I think when I started as Federation Chair in Hampshire three officers a day were getting assaulted, and it’s just going up and up and up every year, which is really worrying.

“Hampshire is actually far ahead of many forces in the support that we give to officers who have been assaulted. But we have got officers who have been let down by the CPS and the court system, so a lot of work still needs to be done.

“The CPS and the courts need to get their heads around the fact that these officers are victims. They’re a victim first and a police officer second. They seem to think, ‘Oh well, they’re a police officer’, and we don’t get the same level of service that a non-police officer victim would get. Plus being assaulted doesn’t just have an impact on the officer, but on their families as well.

“I recently had a meeting with the head of our local CPS about some cases where the officers were let down, to try to put across the impact that this has on the officers, when the case doesn’t even get its hearing in court.

“If the courts gave harsher sentences, which they’ve got the power to do, that would send a good message out to those who assault officers that if you assault an emergency service worker, you’re probably going to face a custodial sentence. That doesn’t happen enough at the moment and it would have a real impact.”

Meanwhile PFEW Chair Steve Hartshorn told LBC Radio: “Being hit, kicked, potentially shot at, spat at, coughed in your face when someone tells you they’ve got a really incredibly horrible disease… It has an effect – it doesn’t ever go away. People underestimate that we are human beings, it does hurt and it’s unacceptable.”


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