Harsher Penalties For Assaulting Police Have No Impact

Tougher legislation designed to deter attacks on officers has failed to have any impact on police assaults, according to Hampshire Police Federation.

A law came into effect in 2018 that doubled the maximum sentence for assaults to police officers and other emergency service workers from six to 12 months.

But offenders are still getting away with too much, according to Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield.

She said: “We still need tougher sentencing from the courts. Too many people that assault police officers get away with a fine or a suspended sentence – when what they really need is to receive a custodial sentence. The courts don’t seem to understand not just the physical injuries but also the trauma attacks can cause.”

Zoë said the Crown Prosecution Service was also at fault. She spoke about a recent case where an offender was imprisoned for some serious offences.

She said: “The CPS were going to drop the [charge] of assault on the officer because the offender wasn’t going to get any greater custodial sentence. But that just leaves the officer feeling like the crime committed against them was nothing, that it didn’t matter.

“Police officers are victims of these crimes, and they deserve to be treated as such. The people responsible need to be brought to justice and whether they are going to get any additional sentence is not the issue. At the moment there’s no deterrent.

“The deterrent needs to be greater so that people know that if they spit at the officer punch him or her, they might end up in prison – then they might think twice.”

Zoë said it was a “real shame” that tougher sentences weren’t being handed out by judges and magistrates.

She said: “Either they don’t care, which I’d like to think is not the case at all, or they just don’t get it. They don’t understand. They don’t understand what it’s really like what the real impact of an assault is on those officers.”

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