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Officer safety is of paramount importance

24 Oct 2016

Police officers should never accept that being assaulted is part of their job.

It is not, nor should it ever be.

This is an issue we in the Federation have been discussing for some time and I am pleased that by working with the Force and our colleagues in UNISON we have got the Seven-Point Plan on assaults adopted so that police officers and staff are given suitable support and treated properly should they be a victim of an attack by a member of the public.

It would now appear that MPs are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that more and more officers - and police staff - are being subjected to assaults as they go about their duties. Earlier this month, for example, Yorkshire MP Holly Lynch led a Parliament debate on officer assaults, in which she stated:

An assault on a police officer is an assault on society. It is totally unacceptable that public servants, working in their communities to protect people and help the vulnerable, are subject to assaults as they go about their jobs. Make no mistake, these are tough jobs, and while most officers will tell you that they understand there are risks, being a punching bag should never be part and parcel of the job.

Ms Lynch is calling on the Government to do more to protect police officers. Of course, we welcome her efforts on our behalf. But, of course, we cannot just sit back now and expect the Government to respond. We need to keep raising our concerns and speak up on behalf of police officers who are not just physically injured by their assailants but are also left mentally scarred in many cases.

I have now written to all Leicestershire MPs asking them to support Holly Lynch and to increase the pressure on the Government to take action in relation to officer assaults.

During the debate, the Halifax MP told her colleagues:

To reiterate, we make the law here, but we ask the police to uphold and enforce it out there. To assault a police officer is to show a complete disregard for law and order, our shared values and democracy itself. That must be reflected in sentencing, particularly for repeat offenders.

But all too often, people showing that complete disregard for the law of the land, seem to get off quite lightly when - and if - they are brought to court. So I have raised the issue of sentencing of those found guilty of these assaults with our MPs.

I have also invited them to contact me if they would like to discuss the issue further.

During 2015/2016, there were 330 recorded assaults on Leicestershire officers so I would suggest this is a matter they should be interested in. I will keep you posted on whether this proves to be the case. But I, for one, will not be giving up on this issue. Officer safety is of paramount importance. It should be at the top of the agenda not just for the Police Federation but for everyone involved in policing and everyone concerned about the future of our police service.

Tiff Lynch
Chairman

Read the chair's previous comments