Police officers face 755 assaults in one year

PUBLISHED: 06:55 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:22 14 September 2018

Simon Mudge, while he was working for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Simon Mudge, while he was working for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Archant

A former police officer who was beaten unconscious by a gang of burglary suspects and left for dead is calling for tougher sentences for offenders.

Simon Mudge suffered a broken jaw and broken ribs when he was assaulted while arresting a suspect in Weston town centre.

During his 23-year career he was bitten, stabbed with a needle, spat at and urinated on.

He also attended a festival near Bristol where he was hit over the head with a bottle and attacked by a crowd.

He said: “While I was arresting two people I was urinated on and sprayed with TS spray before being kicked.

“At that point I said goodbye to my unborn daughter as I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Simon who suffered complex post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the assaults has spoken out about his experiences after worrying figures show an increase in assaults on police officers.

According to figures from the Home Office, officers in Avon and Somerset faced 755 assaults last year.

Simon said he suffered flashbacks and nightmares and threw himself into his work so he did not have to think about it.

The final straw came when the family of a man who was found dead in a river attacked Simon.

He has now left the force and the job he loved and received help for PTSD. He said: “I wouldn’t have healed in the way I have if I’d continued to work.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t miss desperately being a police officer.

“I don’t think the public realise what it’s like for a police officers – realising the next person or car you stop could be your last.

“I think the courts ought to take a different line with people who assault officers.

“The man who attacked me got a two-year probation order and 100 hours community service for giving me a broken jaw. They walk away laughing.”

Andy Roebuck, chairman of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “We are concerned with an increase of assaults with our officers.

“As a force we have seen an increase in the past two years by approximately 49 per cent.

“Nationally a police officer is assaulted every four minutes and we do not consider that acceptable.

“We need to understand why there has been a significant increase and we will be working with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to consider appropriate measures to protect our officers.”

A new law is being introduced which will allow tougher sentences for offenders.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill will be passed into law this autumn.

Under it, the fact that assaults are committed against emergency workers will be taken into account when sentencing offenders, potentially leading to tougher sentences.

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