Dorset Police officers injured in over 100 assaults

Dorset Police officers injured in over 100 assaults

Published by George Sharpe at 9:05am 5th September 2019. (Updated at 9:07am 5th September 2019)

The number of serious attacks on officers resulting in injury rose significantly in Dorset last year, figures reveal.

An urgent review into police safety has been launched, with the Police Federation of England and Wales saying the attacks are “completely unacceptable”, and calling for a wider roll-out of Tasers.

Officers were injured in 111 assaults in Dorset last year (2018-19), compared to 79 during the previous year, Home Office data reveals.

There were also 201 assaults towards officers that didn't result in injuries. That's down from 258 the previous year.

Injuries to officers through assault increased by 27% in the past year across England and Wales.

The Home Office said the figures are likely to underestimate the total number of assaults in some forces, as many officers see it as part of the job, and do not report them.

Chairman of Police Federation of England and Wales says there needs to be a wider roll-out of Tasers
Chairman of Police Federation of England and Wales says there needs to be a wider roll-out of Tasers

Are more Tasers the way forward?

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, said:

“The rise in assaults on our officers is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as just part of the job.

“The recent surge of serious, high-profile attacks is a serious concern, and the Federation will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers, supporting all frontline officers who want to carry one in passing the required assessments to do so.

“It is not a nice-to-have device – it is an essential piece of kit, which without doubt has saved the lives of officers and the public.”

But Mr Apter added that Tasers were only part of the solution, and that society must not tolerate such behaviour towards the police.

#Unacceptable

Dorset Police launched it's #unacceptable campaign late last year to raise awareness for the officers and other emergency staff who risk their safety on a daily basis.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said:

“Officers should not have to face assault but we know there are risks in standing up to criminals and protecting our communities.

“Training, teamwork and public support give them the confidence to face those risks.

“I have commissioned an end-to-end review of officer safety – from training, to equipment, to the criminal justice outcomes when an officer is assaulted.”

Last year, Parliament passed a new law to double the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers from six to 12 months.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“Being attacked should never be part of the job for our courageous police officers, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

“We are working with forces to recruit 20,000 more police officers over the next three years, and are committed to ensuring they have the resources, tools and powers they need to keep themselves and the public safe.”