Increased penalties are needed for attacks on officers, says Federation secretary

The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation has questioned claims that tougher sentences are ineffective in reducing assaults on emergency services workers.

Roger Webb said that increased penalties were needed to protect police officers and their frontline colleagues – and to send the message that such attacks are “unacceptable”.

He said: “Police officers have a unique role in society but our members should be able to go to work without the fear of violence being used against them.

“Any sort of attack on them is unacceptable and the fact we have tougher sentences sends out that message, helps to protect them, and shows that they have the support of society.

“Tougher sentences are something the Federation has been campaigning no for a long time and we’ll continue to do everything we can to protect our members.”

Roger’s comments follow the publication of a report by the charity Transform Justice ‘Protect the protectors? Do criminal sanctions reduce violence against police and NHS staff?’.

The report states it takes a closer, evidence-based look at increased penalties for assaults against emergency workers and demonstrates the ineffectiveness of this approach on any level.

Steve Hartshorn, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, took part in a panel discussion to coincide with the report’s launch which asked: ‘Will harsher sanctions reduce assaults on police and NHS workers?’

Asked of his personal experience of officers being assaulted when on duty, Steve said: “I have been assaulted countless times and, to go back to when I first started as a new officer in 1995, there was an ethos then that it was part of the job.

“It was in the early 2000s I think and, there was a court case where a judge basically reaffirmed that it was part the job to get assaulted but it never felt right because everyone has a right to go to work and to be treated properly. We accept that at times policing can be a contact sport, certainly if you are a frontline officer dealing with the public.

“It’s the minority of the public that cause these assaults on officers and it does leave lasting effects on police officers.”