West Mercia Police Federation and the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) have urged judges and magistrates to dish out the strongest possible penalties after 12 officers were assaulted over the course of last weekend.
The federation secretary Pete Nightingale described attacks on officers as “completely unacceptable”, while PCC John Campion branded the “disgusting assaults” as “shocking”.
Mr Nightingale said: “Last weekend alone 12 West Mercia Police officers were assaulted doing their job.
“Some of these were spat at which is absolutely disgusting and comes with additional stress of potentially picking up contagious diseases.
“This is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Police officers are humans, they have families and they do not deserve to face violence for doing their job.”
The most recent figures show that in the year up to March 2022 a total of 671 West Mercia Police officers were assaulted – with 207 suffering injuries as a result.
Mr Nightingale added: “We would urge judges and magistrates to deliver the toughest possible sentences on those convicted of assaulting a police officer.
“It must never be dismissed as being ‘part of the job’ because no one should have to tolerate being exposed to violence of any kind when they go to work.”
West Mercia Police’s Chief Superintendent, Paul Moxley, praised “courageous officers” who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others – but said assaults are too common, and added that the force took a zero-tolerance approach to those who attack police and emergency workers.
He said: “Assaults on our officers and all emergency workers are taken very seriously. We will arrest those responsible and always seek to put them before the courts on every occasion.
“Our officers and those of our colleagues in the ambulance and fire service are simply going about their daily business trying to protect individuals and our communities.
“Our courageous officers are always prepared to face the most violent of individuals in order to help protect others and this often puts them directly in harm’s way.
“Never-the-less, assaults on our officers and staff are far too common place and we will therefore continue to ensure that we work alongside the Police Federation, support those officers and staff who are assaulted, and continue to adopt a zero tolerance approach to every individual who assaults a member of our workforce.”
Mr Campion said he wanted “the full extent of the law” used to punish those responsible.
He said: “It is shocking to see twelve police officers have been victims of disgusting assaults over one weekend, this is not acceptable. Police officers fulfil a special role in our society, working tirelessly to keep our communities safe.
“In 2016, I launched the Behind the Badge campaign. Sadly assaults are still happening and all too often. I am committed to raising awareness of assaults on frontline workers and making sure the right support is in place for officers that have been attacked.
“In 2022, the maximum sentence for assault on emergency workers was increased to two years. I want to see the full extent of the law used to send a clear message that this behaviour won’t be tolerated.”