Number of violent attacks on Yorkshire police officers soars in a year

Attacks on Yorkshire police officers have increased.
Attacks on Yorkshire police officers have increased.
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VIOLENT ATTACKS on police in Yorkshire rose last year – with almost 2,000 incidents of abuse in 2017.

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The figures are revealed as part of an investigation by The Yorkshire Post ahead of the third reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill, which proposes harsher punishments on those who attack emergency staff.

Over the last two years, forces in West, South and North Yorkshire, plus Humberside Police, recorded 2,471 incidents of physical and verbal abuse against police staff – 603 in 2016 and 1,868 in 2017. The true figure will be even higher, as South and West Yorkshire were not able to provide figures for the full period.

West Yorkshire Police saw 2,061 incidents of abuse of its staff last year.

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Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said it had introduced spit and bite guards and body-worn cameras for officers, and has annual training on physical and verbal techniques that could be used to diffuse a violent situation.

But despite preventative measures, attacks continue, and Mr Robins said so far this year his officers had been driven at, racially abused, and one even suffered a 3cm gash beneath his eye after he was hit by a 2ft metal crowbar.

The force has also worked with unions, victims charities and MIND on “an array” of support for officers.

He said: “At the end of the day, they step forward when others step away and it’s a difficult job.

“The most frustrating part for officers is the totally unnecessary abuse - when they are being spat at, punched and kicked, and the effects it has on them and their families. All of them have children, families, and partners, who they need to go home to and explain what has happened to them at work. For them, it can be devastating.”

Of the 107 attacks on Humberside officers across the last two years, 32 resulted in hospital treatment.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble said the force had a “zero tolerance” to violence offered against its police officers and staff.

He said: “Being assaulted is not in the job description of a police officer. Policing is a risk business. At times it can be a contact sport but the only sport I know where you get signed up to get punched is boxing.

“It’s most definitely not policing as a career so there’s no acceptable level of violence whatsoever.”

Nearly 200 assaults were recorded in North Yorkshire.

Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “As a service, we offer our colleagues wellbeing support if they are assaulted at work and we do everything we can to prevent them coming to harm.

“That includes always endeavouring to deal with offenders to the full extent of the law and working in partnership with other agencies to reduce violent behaviour in our society.”

South Yorkshire Police recorded 109 incidents from January 2016 to March 2017.

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley said the force had an eight point plan relating that ensures assaults on officers are investigated with the same “care, compassion and commitment” as an assault on a member of the public.

He added: “We also have a safe crewing policy in place, which advises upon how and when our officers should be deployed alongside a response car function in each district and an uplift in Taser capacity. This is to ensure our officers are provided with the correct tools to be able to best protect themselves from any assaults they may be subject to.”

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