Senior Yorkshire police figure calls for mandatory sentences for those who assault emergency service workers

Those who assault police officers should expect to receive jail time to help tackle the "inconsistencies" in sentencing, the chairman of a Yorkshire police federation has said.

Officers across England and Wales were subjected to more assaults over the past year, many of which were Covid aggravated with a recent survey revealing 32 per cent of officers believed they had purposely been threatened by a member of the public with coronavirus.

Officers in South Yorkshire have been spat and coughed at alongside being punched, kicked, attacked and assaulted with weapons.

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While some courts began to hand down increased sentences during the pandemic, many assaults on blue light workers have not received the punishment the perpetrators deserve, the South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Chairman of the South Yorkshire Police Federation Steve Kent.

Chairman Steve Kent said mandatory jail sentences regularly imposed by the judiciary would go some way in deterring those thinking of assaulting emergency workers.

"We're still seeing examples in South Yorkshire of lenient sentences, and we're seeing them across the country," Mr Kent said.

"While we welcome the courts' increased powers and increased sentencing powers until there is a mandatory sentence that comes with an offence, then this behaviour isn't going to go anywhere.

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Mr Kent said officers should be protected as much as possible from the dangers of the job, especially as being assaulted and spat at can leave mental as well as physical scars.

He said: "Mandatory jail time is the only way to stop seeing these ridiculous stories of officers suffering life-changing scars and injuries and the people who did it to them getting away with pretty much nothing.

"They have a right to be protected in going out and giving up their health and wellbeing to try and protect the public, so they deserve a little bit back."

Mr Kent said there are huge inconsistencies in sentencing country-wide. While some areas are handing out custodial sentences, in Cornwall, one man was jailed for just 72 days despite biting and spitting at officers, while in Dorset another spitting assault resulted in just a five-week prison term.