Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says it is essential police have the full backing of the criminal justice system to send out a clear message that it’s unacceptable to assault officers.
Liz was speaking after Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged to further strengthen the protection given to officers by increasing sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers.
“We know that policing comes with risks; it’s the nature of the role. But that does not make it right that we should be attacked in our line of duty,” Liz explained.
“Our brave members put their lives on the line while serving their communities and in recent weeks and months they’ve had the added risk of coronavirus potentially being weaponised against them.
“It’s essential they have the full backing of the criminal justice system when it comes to assaults on them, and we need to send out the clear message that it’s totally unacceptable.”
The Federation has long campaigned for tougher sentences on those who attack members of the emergency services.
Its high-profile Protect the Protectors campaign produced a significant result with the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, which came into law in November 2018 and introduced a maximum 12-month sentence for those who attacked police officers and other blue light workers.
Ms Patel reiterated her backing for even stronger sentences during a conference call with national Federation chair John Apter and three officers from Wales, West Yorkshire and Wiltshire who were victims of assault.
Ms Patel said: “Rest assured you’ve got my full backing and support. Anything we can do to strengthen protection for officers is absolutely my focus – I am here to make that happen.
“I would like to give you all my personal thanks and gratitude for everything you did, as the work you do is so integral to the community.”
Along with local Federation branches, the national chair organised the online event to highlight the need for lengthier sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers and to ensure officers who were assaulted are given the support they need.
John said: “I’m pleased the Home Secretary has taken the time to really understand the level of violence and vulnerability experienced by police officers, hearing the accounts of brave police officers who were assaulted while protecting the public.
“We hope with this welcome support from the Home Secretary we will see legislation introduced which will allow for harsher sentences for cowardly and vile individuals who assault emergency workers.”