A West Yorkshire MP has urged the Government to properly fund and support the police service after she witnessed first hand the threats faced by single-crewed officers.
Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, spent a Friday night on the late shift, with both a neighbourhood team and a response team in her constituency.
When she attended a fail-to-stop incident with response officer PC Craig Gallant, he quickly became surrounded.
She said: “People were becoming increasingly aggressive and intimidating. Response officers like PC Gallant clearly have a lot of experience in dealing with difficult situations and whilst he managed the incident incredibly well, I saw first-hand just how dangerous it can be for officers working alone.
“When the crowd that had gathered became increasingly hostile and he drew his baton to give himself some space, I was so concerned for his safety that I rang 999 myself, thinking it was the fastest way to stress just how urgently he needed back-up.”
The incident passed without injury, but Ms Lynch said: “I could really see the strain on the service”.
West Yorkshire Police Federation had visited Ms Lynch to raise concerns about an increase in assaults on police officers and unsafe staffing levels.
She said: “So I was keen to see for myself just how well police officers on the front line are coping with cuts of £160 million over 5 years, and the loss of 1,200 police officers, a reduction of 20% of the force.
“Officers are regularly being asked to respond to emergency calls on their own. The Police Federation informed me about a female police officer who recently responded to a domestic call in Calderdale, my district, on her own and was head butted by an offender, leaving her with a broken eye-socket, and knocking out two teeth.
“This simply isn’t good enough. If the police are not safe on duty then the public are not safe and it wasn’t long into the evening shift, that I saw for myself the dangers officers are in when responding to incidents on their own – as a single crew.”
Date posted: September 6, 2016