Chair sickened by rise in assaults on emergency service workers


PUBLISHED 14 Jan 2021

IN News

A rise in attacks on emergency workers has been described as “sickening” by the chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation.

Liz Groom was speaking as new figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) showed a 10 per cent increase in attacks on emergency services workers in November compared to the previous year.

The NPCC said: “It is thought the rise may be driven by increases in common assaults on police constables, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.”

And Liz said: “Police officers and other key emergency workers have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic to help, support and protect people. To see their efforts rewarded with such a large increase in attacks, including the use of coronavirus as a weapon, is sickening.

“After everything emergency workers have done throughout this pandemic, it feels like a kick in the guts. Using Covid-19 is despicable and threatens the safety of not only emergency workers but also that of their loved ones.

“It can’t be allowed to become the norm. We need these offenders to be given the toughest possible sentences to send out the message that it won’t be accepted.”

Liz’s comments were echoed by John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

John said: “I’m disgusted to see this appalling increase as Covid-19 continues to spread. These figures will include many police officers being spat at and coughed at by vile individuals who weaponise the virus, which threatens their health and that of their families.

“It’s disgustingly offensive that 999 workers, who are working so hard to protect the public throughout this crisis, are being attacked and assaulted in this way. People need to remember that these emergency workers are mums and dads, and sons and daughters who have families to go home to at the end of a shift.

“Those who commit these despicable offences must be harshly dealt with by the courts and face the full force of the law.”

He said PFEW will continue to seek an increase in sentences for those who assault officers through its ‘Protect The Protectors’ campaign.

“It is vital to ensure courts issue tougher sentences to those who assault emergency service workers. If you assault a police officer you should expect to spend time in prison, no ifs, no buts,” John added.

Other findings in the NPCC figures include:

• Serious violent crime, including grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and personal robbery reduced by 20 per cent
• Shoplifting was down 32 per cent
• Vehicle crime fell by 22 per cent
• Residential burglary was down by 23 per cent
• In total, 32,329 fixed penalty notices have been recorded as having been issued in England and Wales under Coronavirus Regulations between Friday 27 March and Monday 21 December 2020.