Senior Yorkshire police leader says officers are becoming 'dehumanised' as Covid-19 related assaults rise

A senior Yorkshire police leader has said his officers are becoming "dehumanised" as Covid-19 related assaults across the county are becoming a daily occurrence.

Police on patrol in Hull.

Humberside Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble has said certain members of the public are dehumanising his officers and staff and that the force must ensure they are looked after, following a rise in the number of attacks.

The latest incident happened on Saturday evening, when officers attended an address in Hull for a Covid-19 breach.

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Two of the residents refused to co-operate, leading to three officers being assaulted. One officer was bitten through their uniform, resulting in the skin being broken and bleeding.

Assistant Chief Constable of Humberside Police, Chris Noble.

The incident follows that of two officers attacked on a routine Covid-19 patrol in Hull city centre, last Thursday.

One officer was punched in the face, with a man also spitting blood in the officer's face and mouth. The man also attacked a detention officer at Clough Road Police Station.

ACC Noble described the attacks as "horrendous".

He said: "Sadly a small minority seem to think police officers and staff don’t bleed and are fair game.

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"We must look after our own."

A recent survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales revealed 32 per cent of officers believed they had purposely been threatened by a member of the public with Covid-19.Chair of the Humberside Police Federation, Peter Musgrave said: "Being spat and coughed at, in the middle of a pandemic which has taken so many lives, is disgusting, dangerous and inhumane. In some cases, individuals who commit these offences are even saying they have the virus and hope the officer catches it then dies.

"Police officers on the frontline are increasingly facing abuse from a small minority who think nothing of deliberately weaponising the virus, and these people are the lowest of the low."

Steve Kent, Chair of the South Yorkshire Police Federation, echoed the comments made by Mr Musgrave.

He said: "These figures sadly highlight what we know and have been saying. There has been an unacceptable rise in assaults on officers since the pandemic began.

"I have been concerned that officers are becoming the punchbag for society's frustration and this in many ways proves it. Our officers are human as well and have families to go home to.

"While others in the NHS are rightly treated as heroes, our police officers - who are at the frontline of this pandemic as well - are being spat at and assaulted."