“We need to send out a strong message that as a society we condemn assaults on police officers.”
That is the view of Cheshire Police Federation Chairman Jamie Thompson, after it emerged that there has been a 19% rise in the number of assaults on emergency workers.
According to figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPPC), the rise has been driven by an increase in common assault – including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with COVID-19.
The Government has doubled the maximum sentence for an assault on an emergency worker to two years, but Jamie said this didn’t always translate into prison terms for offenders.
Jamie said: “While we have seen some stronger sentences recently, more can be done to ensure that offenders know assaulting officers will lead to a proportionate sentence.
“I appreciate all cases are individual, but sentencing guidelines are there to support the judiciary and I would urge the courts to take these offences seriously.
“The damage done from an assault – not only physically but mentally – is huge and we need to recognise that by sending out a strong message that as a society we condemn assaults on police officers.”
NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt said offenders found guilty of assaulting police officers should expect to face the “full force of the law”.
He said: “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, there continues to be a concerning rise in assaults against emergency service workers. This is unacceptable.
“We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line.
“Officers and staff are out in communities, working in challenging circumstances, and I am grateful for their continued hard work.”