New figures reveal 300 officer assaults

Almost 300 assaults were committed against Dyfed Powys Police officers last year, new figures have revealed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed there were 85 attacks which left officers injured and 207 non-injury assaults which give a total of 292 for the year ending in March 2021.

The statistics also show there were almost 37,000 assaults on police officers across all forces in England and Wales during the same 12-month period.

Of these, 11,235 were crimes of “assault with injury on a constable” while 25,734 were “assault without injury on a constable” - an increase of 21 per cent on the previous year.

Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb said: “We condemn anyone who carries out an assault against a police officer or any other members of the emergency services.

“It is beyond belief that the number of these crimes actually went up during the pandemic and the individuals who committed them should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

“It has been a difficult time for all of us but there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to take out their anger and frustration on the very people who are there to protect them.

“Our members have acted with the utmost dedication and professionalism policing the pandemic and the idea that they are subjected to disgusting abuse and assaults while doing their jobs is totally unacceptable.”

National chair John Apter said: “Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed police officers being subjected to a disgusting level of violence. We now have the figures to prove just how dire the situation has been for my colleagues on the ground.

“More than 100 of my colleagues are assaulted every single day, that’s a staggering number and something society must not accept. Many of these recorded attacks involve vile individuals who have spat on or coughed at police officers, weaponising the virus and threatening to spread it to them and their families.

“The sentencing guidelines have been changed and I would urge judges and magistrates to use these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting our colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison. This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

The Government has pledged to increase the maximum sentence from 12 months to two years for assaults on emergency workers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

And for the first time, judges and magistrates in England and Wales will be given specific guidance for sentencing offenders convicted of assault on emergency service workers under new advice from the Sentencing Council.

It will be the second time in less than three years that the maximum sentence for the offence has been increased.

In November 2018 the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act doubled the maximum penalty for common assault from six to 12 months.

The legislation covers police, prison staff, custody officers, firefighters, search and rescue workers and front-line health workers.

Assault can include acts such as a push, shove or being spat at, as well as more serious injuries that can lead to far longer sentences.