Review highlights risks to officer safety


PUBLISHED 03 Sep 2020

IN News

Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says it’s vital to the safety of front-line officers they receive the right training, protection and equipment to perform their duties.

Liz’s comments come after the publication of a new report from the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) into the rise of assaults against police officers.

Last year there were 30,679 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, or 84 a day, which led to the comprehensive Officer and Staff Safety Review being commissioned by NPCC chair Martin Hewitt.

The report includes 28 recommendations and calls for action to better protect officers.

Liz said: “We’ve seen a shocking increase in assaults on police officers, despite the Federation’s successful campaign to increase sentences for those who carry out such assaults.

“Let’s be clear that an assault of any kind on a police officer must not be tolerated. Offenders must feel the full weight of the criminal justice system to send out that message.

“And it’s absolutely vital that front-line teams receive the right training and equipment to be able to serve the public safely.”

More than 40,000 voices were canvassed for the Officer and Staff Safety Review, including many front-line officers.

Recommendations include training for roads policing officers, improved equipment and further research on the link between shift work and safe driving practices with the review having identified the high number of officer deaths as they travelled to and from work.

The Federation has welcomed the report’s recommendations but national vice-chair Ché Donald said it must not just become another doorstop and be forgotten in a year’s time.

He explained: “There are many good points raised in this review, with much good work already in play. However, chief officers must now take swift action to implement all immediately, so they are meaningful, make a tangible difference and are directly felt by officers on the ground.”

And he added: “Along with the majority of the public, the Federation is appalled by the atrocious levels of violence colleagues have faced recently and has been demanding action. That’s why we welcomed this review and want to see its finding make a real difference.

“All too often my colleagues are not treated as victims when they are assaulted, leaving them feeling failed by supervisors and the criminal justice system, as they have made clear in this officer and staff survey.

“It is only right officers have the very best equipment, training and support for the dangerous job they do; we made this crystal clear in PFEW’s evidence to the review.”

The recommendations include a review of equipment, the overhaul of safety training, and a new College of Policing led national curriculum so every officer receives the same standard of tuition.

In addition, the findings contain a commitment to officers and staff about the minimum standard of support and communication they would receive should they suffer an assault, and a pledge to consider rolling out ‘Operation Hampshire’ – the seven-point plan to reduce assaults further. The initiative was started locally in his home force by John Apter who is now national Federation chair.

Read the report.