Almost 500 assaults on Cambs officers


PUBLISHED 30 Jul 2021

IN News

Almost 500 assaults against Cambridgeshire police officers were recorded last year, according to the latest figures.

Data from the Office of National Statistics showed there were 73 assaults causing injury and 419 non-injury assaults to give a total 492 for the year ending in March 2021.

National figures revealed there were almost 37,000 assaults on police officers in England and Wales during the same 12-month period.

There were 25,734 crimes of “assault without injury on a constable” recorded across all forces – an increase of 21 per cent on the 21,321 the previous year.

The data also showed there were 11,235 crimes of “assault with injury on a constable” recorded across all forces – a 1.2 per cent rise on the 11,106 recorded the previous year.

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom said: “The rising number of assaults on police officers is deeply disturbing. Our members have been punched, kicked, spat at and coughed on while trying to do a difficult job in very challenging circumstances.

“They show extraordinary resilience in the face of such aggression and hostility but they are human beings at the end of the day and they do not deserve to be treated like this. These assaults can have a devastating impact not just on officers’ physical wellbeing but also their mental health.

“The message has to be clear: assaulting an emergency services worker, or anyone else for that matter, is totally unacceptable and those who carry out such attacks should be utterly ashamed of themselves.”

National Federation chair John Apter said: “Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed police officers being subjected to a disgusting level of violence. We now have the figures to prove just how dire the situation has been for my colleagues on the ground.

“More than 100 of my colleagues are assaulted every single day, that’s a staggering number and something society must not accept. Many of these recorded attacks involve vile individuals who have spat on or coughed at police officers, weaponising the virus and threatening to spread it to them and their families.

“The sentencing guidelines have been changed and I would urge judges and magistrates to use these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting our colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison. This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

The Government has pledged to increase the maximum sentence from 12 months to two years for assaults on emergency workers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

And for the first time, judges and magistrates in England and Wales will be given specific guidance for sentencing offenders convicted of assault on emergency service workers under new advice from the Sentencing Council.

It will be the second time in under three years that the maximum sentence for the offence has been increased.

In November 2018 the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act doubled the maximum penalty for common assault from six to 12 months.

The legislation covers police, prison staff, custody officers, firefighters, search and rescue workers and frontline health workers.

Assault can include acts such as a push, shove or being spat at, as well as more serious injuries that can lead to far longer sentences.