Serious attacks on county’s police officers increasing

Attacks on officers which have resulted in injury increased. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Imag

Attacks on officers which have resulted in injury increased. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The number of serious attacks on officers resulting in injury rose in Cambridgeshire last year, new figures have shown.

An urgent review into police safety has been launched, with the Police Federation of England and Wales saying the attacks are "completely unacceptable", and calling for a wider roll-out of Tasers.

Home Office data shows that 93 assaults resulting in officer injuries were recorded by Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 2018-19, compared to 81 during the previous year.

The figures reflect a growth in such attacks across England and Wales, where injuries to officers through assault increased 27 per cent during the period, to about 10,400.

The data was published for the first time in 2017-18, when "assault with injury on a constable" became a new category of crime.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: "The rise in assaults on our officers is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as just part of the job.

"The recent surge of serious, high-profile attacks is a serious concern, and the Federation will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers, supporting all frontline officers who want to carry one in passing the required assessments to do so.

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"It is not a nice-to-have device - it is an essential piece of kit, which without doubt has saved the lives of officers and the public."

But Mr Apter added that Tasers were only part of the solution, and that society must not tolerate such behaviour towards the police.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary also recorded 290 assaults without injury on officers in 2018-19, down from 372 the previous year.

This bucks the trend across England and Wales - attacks without injury rose by 14 per cent to just under 20,600.

Figures for assaults in which officers were not physically hurt go back further than those resulting in injuries, and show a rise of 43 per cent since 2014-15.

The Home Office said the figures are likely to underestimate the total number of assaults in some forces, as many officers see it as part of the job, and do not report them.

Last year, parliament passed a new law to double the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers from six to 12 months.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Being attacked should never be part of the job for our courageous police officers, who put themselves in harm's way to protect us."