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Is it going to take a police fatality before MPs decide to Protect the protectors?

Day after day we see depressing day headlines of officers being seriously assaulted across the country, writes Chairman Nick Smart.

We have seen an officer stabbed and injured in London suffering life changing injuries.

We have seen an off-duty officer stabbed in the chin and neck in Leeds.

The dangers are real. They are now.

What more do officers have to suffer before the Government act and do something tangible to support our police officers?

In West Yorkshire Police, we are currently seeing around 3 officers assaulted a day. If it continues like this, we will have over 1,200 reported assaults for the year. That’s a 20% increase on last year. In any other workplace (say NHS, schools etc), there would be a national outcry.
And we know that this is still unreported by many, many officers who are too busy (don’t even get a meal break), too afraid or embarrassed to report it, or just don’t believe that justice will be served, so don’t bother.

I have been working with our local Halifax MP, Holly Lynch. There have been two debates in the House of Commons, and I have personally spoken to around 80 MP’s who professed their full support for the ordinary men and woman doing an extraordinary job.

It’s a start after the years in the political wilderness, and cross party support is growing.

Policing is very much back on the agenda, so why are those in power not doing anything about it when MP’s on all side acknowledge and respect that fact that we run towards danger to protect the vulnerable?

Support is welcome. But there need to be tangible outcomes in terms of funding for increased officer numbers, better PPE, extra support from the CPS and courts, and a change in assault legislation and sentencing guidelines to act as a deterrent and put us back on the right path.

We have become society’s punchbags. We are increasingly demonised and seen as legitimate targets for some.

The lack of an effective deterrent from the courts, less officers, more single crewing equals more vulnerability for those wearing the uniform. Anyone who thinks the current status quo is working is simply not a credible voice on this subject.

However, I and others are lobbying for something that should be a given. We should not have to be pleading that police officers should be given the full support of the law when they are assaulted.

That the law should act as a deterrent. And that officers should be looked after as a victim of crime, like everyone else. It’s a national disgrace.

It’s time that those with influence and power acted, and act now before more officers are seriously hurt and injured.

Every single day it is by fortuitous circumstances that when officers are deliberately attacked they are not killed. Sadly I fear it is only a matter of time before one officer is killed.

It should not be this hard or so painfully slow to do the right thing for Police officers.

Is it going to take a fatality before those in power decide to protect the protectors?

Date posted: December 12, 2016

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