11 January 2021
A 10 per cent increase in attacks on emergency workers is unacceptable, says Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb.
Now Roger has called for tougher sentences for offenders who attack emergency workers.
His comments follow the release of new figures by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) which show a 10 per cent rise in assaults on emergency services personnel during November compared to the same period in 2019.
The NPCC said: “It is thought the rise may be driven by increases in common assaults on police constables, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.”
Roger said: “Any assault on police officers or our colleagues in other emergency services should not be tolerated but a 10 per cent rise is totally unacceptable.
“These people have been on the frontline protecting the public throughout the pandemic, and will continue to do so, despite such a large rise in attacks. What is most shocking is the fact that the rise is down to people spitting on police officers with the aim of using Covid-19 as a weapon. It’s sickening.
“We need the full backing of the courts in these cases to give our members and their colleagues in the other emergency services the support and protection they need, and to send out the message such attacks are unacceptable.”
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), has echoed Roger’s comments following the release of the figures.
He said: “I’m disgusted to see this appalling increase as Covid-19 continues to spread. These figures will include many police officers being spat at and coughed at by vile individuals who weaponise the virus, which threatens their health and that of their families.
“It’s disgustingly offensive that 999 workers, who are working so hard to protect the public throughout this crisis, are being attacked and assaulted in this way. People need to remember that these emergency workers are mums and dads, and sons and daughters who have families to go home to at the end of a shift.
“Those who commit these despicable offences must be harshly dealt with by the courts and face the full force of the law.”
He said the Federation would continue to call for an increase in the length of sentences given to those who assault police and other emergency workers through the ‘Protect The Protectors’ campaign.
“It is vital to ensure courts issue tougher sentences to those who assault emergency service workers. If you assault a police officer you should expect to spend time in prison, no ifs, no buts,” he added.
Other findings in the NPCC figures include:
• Serious violent crime, including grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm and personal robbery reduced by 20 per cent
• Shoplifting was down 32 per cent
• Vehicle crime fell by 22 per cent
• Residential burglary was down by 23 per cent
• In total, 32,329 fixed penalty notices have been recorded as having been issued in England and Wales under Coronavirus Regulations between Friday 27 March and Monday 21 December 2020.