This year could see a record number of attacks on police officers at Yorkshire’s largest force after the first month of 2020 saw more than 200 assaults on police constables, it has been revealed.
There were a total of 210 assaults on officers at West Yorkshire Police last month with many reported being bitten, punched, head-butted and kicked.
Vice Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, Craig Grandison, has said he is “appalled” by the figures and believes this year could be the worst on record for assaults on police officers.
He said: “With over 200 incidents of assault in January, it could be another record year for West Yorkshire - and certainly not a record to be happy about.”
The Home Office collates the numbers of assaults from each force.
In 2018-2019 there were 1,897 assaults on West Yorkshire officers, which was the second-highest number of assaults after the Metropolitan Police - England’s largest force.
Mr Grandison said: “Not only were there 210 separate instances of assault, there were over 250 separate types of assault, meaning that a number of officers were attacked in more than one way.
This may mean an officer has been punched and kicked, or spat at and then head-butted.
“This in itself shows that assaults can be violent and sustained.
“It is simply unacceptable that this many officers are assaulted in a month; brave officers that are battered and bruised and in many cases unsupported by the courts.
“This needs to change and appropriate sentences need to be handed down by magistrates and judges – only then can there be a true deterrent to the violent acts carried out by the thugs in our society.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel recently pledged a consultation process on the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act which could double the current maximum sentence of 12 months for perpetrators.
The Act was introduced in November 2018 following the Protect the Protectors campaign, in which Halifax MP and policeman’s daughter Holly Lynch was the driving force in lobbying MPs to support the legislation.
The law meant offenders who attacked emergency services faced longer jail terms with an increase from six months to 12 months for offenders but with assaults continuing to rise there are calls for tougher sentencing powers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I’ve been appalled by the increasing numbers of assaults on our brave police officers and am not going to stand for it.
“Part of the solution is giving police the resources and powers they need to keep themselves safe, but we also need to make sure that the punishment for assaulting an officer truly fits the crime.
“I will always have the backs of the police and want to see those who do them harm behind bars for longer.”