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‘Act Upon New Safety Review’

“My colleagues are getting beaten black and blue on a daily basis… I hope that this report is acted upon in a bid to reduce the amount of assaults on my colleagues.”

That’s the verdict of Brian Booth, Chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation, on a new Safety Review from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

A new offence for those deliberately using, threatening or attempting to use a vehicle to target a police employee, and the potential to increase the availability of Tasers and Spit Guards for use by officers are just two of the Review’s recommendations.

In total 28 recommendations have been made by the NPCC in a nationwide 156-page report into the rapid rise of assaults against police officers and what can be done to combat them.

Statistics show there were 30,679 assaults on police officers in England and Wales last year. That’s the equivalent of 590 a week or 84 a day.

The Review, which is now being considered by the Home Office, also recommends a new approach to investigations into officer assaults, with the arrest of an offender the default position.

It also wants the College of Policing to overhaul current safety training and replace it with a new national curriculum; and to look at the benefits of any body-worn video (BWV) footage of assaults on officers and staff being played at court, regardless of the defendant’s plea.

Brian Booth said: “‘My colleagues are getting beaten black and blue on a daily basis. Police assaults are on the increase and officers are being let down regularly by the justice system.

“This review of officer safety is long overdue and in my opinion the recommendations should be mandatory. I hope that this report is acted upon in a bid to reduce the amount of assaults on my colleagues.”

More than 40,000 interested parties contributed to the Review’s questionnaire.

Other recommendations include that the College of Policing should produce a learning package for officers and staff to raise awareness of the risks of a corrosive substances, and that Chief Constables should issue slash- and needlestick-resistant gloves to all police officers.

Ché Donald, Vice-Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), said: “There are many good points raised in this Review, with much good work already in play. However, Chief Officers must now take swift action to implement all immediately, so they are meaningful, make a tangible difference and are directly felt by officers on the ground.

“This Review must not become just another doorstop, and be forgotten about a year down the line. That would mean letting down my colleagues even further.
“Along with the majority of the public, the Federation is appalled by the atrocious levels of violence colleagues have faced recently, and has been demanding action. That’s why we welcomed this review and want to see it make a real difference.

“All too often my colleagues are not treated as victims when they are assaulted, leaving them feeling failed by supervisors and the criminal justice system, as they have made clear in this officer and staff survey.

“It is only right officers have the very best equipment, training and support for the dangerous job they do; we made this crystal clear in PFEW’s evidence to the Review.”

Date posted: October 20, 2020

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