Police officers ‘attacked several times a week’
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Frontline police officers are being assaulted more than ever before, according to Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Sue Mountsevens has slated the unacceptable rise in attacks her officers have to face.
She said: “These are people who day in and day out are being assaulted on a far more regular basis now than they have ever been.”
Crime statistics revealed there were 185 assaults on officers in 2017/18, with 60 of those resulting in injury.
It was the first time figures were compiled for the number of attacks causing injuries to police.
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Ms Mountstevens, speaking at a police and crime panel meeting, said: “One of the issues which really worries me is the increase of police assaults where a number of officers on a daily basis are being spat at, headbutted and kicked, and that’s not acceptable.
“That’s something they’re almost anticipating every single day.
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“That’s bound to affect the way that you feel about yourself.
“I spoke to a PCSO who had been spat at and was having to undergo further tests, and it might be months before she finds out if she’s been infected.
“How do you explain that to your kids?
“When you come back from work, how do you explain to your family that you went to work and came back with a black eye?
“I know it has affected families. It’s bound to affect not only the individual but their family as well.”
She revealed at a recent graduation of new officers, relatives asked her how she could keep their loved ones safe on the beat.
Ms Mountstevens added: “These are people who day in and day out are being assaulted on a far more regular basis now than they have ever been.”
Figures released last year showed attacks on Avon and Somerset police have gone up over the past decade, with more than three attacks every week on average, with about one third resulting in an officer suffering an injury.
The 125 attacks without injury in 2017/18 rose from 116 the previous year and is more than double the 55 recorded in 2007/08.
This bucks the national trend which saw a decrease in the number of officers assaulted, from 20,384 a decade earlier to 18,114 in 2017/18 – almost 50 attacks a day.