Rise in assaults on police officers in Shropshire during lockdown
Assaults on police officers rose by 45 per cent in Shropshire during lockdown, new figures show.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s Behind the Badge campaign highlights the worrying number of those affected.
Figures show that from April to June, officers were assaulted on 16 occasions in Shropshire compared with 11 between January and March this year.
Officer assaults have been steadily increasing over the last five years and figures show that in 2018/19, 538 frontline officers were assaulted across West Mercia, with the figure for 2019/20 rising to 659.
In the first three months of this year, one in 15 police officers were assaulted.
Mr Campion said: “These statistics, once again, make very worrying reading. At a time when overall crime has reduced, unfortunately officer assaults in Shropshire have not followed suit.
“I have been committed to raising awareness of assaults on frontline workers, and making sure that the right support is in place for officers that have been victims of crime.
"The statistics have reinforced my support for tougher sentencing for the minority that assault frontline workers, and to send a clear message that this behaviour won’t be tolerated.
"Assaults have far reaching effects on officers, their families, friends and colleagues which cannot be underestimated. I will do everything I can to support action to bring the perpetrators of this type of crime to justice.”
Sarah Cooper, West Mercia Police Federation chair, said it can never be accepted that any assault on an officer is ‘just part of the job’.
"It is only right that individuals who carry out these abhorrent crimes are brought to justice," she said.
“Unfortunately, all too often, the feedback I am getting is that charging decisions and sentences at court are woefully lenient. In my view a strong message needs to be sent out through the criminal justice system that offences against our officers will not be tolerated.
"Currently, officers are often left feeling unsupported and let down by a system that does not treat these cases seriously enough. An offence against any emergency worker is an offence against society and cannot be condoned. The increase in the number of assaults on officers is incredibly concerning and I am keen to work alongside the PCC and the force in addressing this issue.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones added: “We take our responsibility to look after them incredibly seriously and we have commissioned a review of our officer safety training and PPE provision to explore if there are new options available to us to try and reduce assaults either through additional training or different equipment.
"We will continue to work with Mr Campion and the Police Federation to ensure that appropriate support services are in place for them and their families.”
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