Assaults on police soar in Suffolk

POLICE union leaders said they were not "society's punch-bags" last night after it emerged the number of assaults on officers had soared by almost 25%.

POLICE union leaders said they were not "society's punch-bags" last night after it emerged the number of assaults on officers had soared by almost 25%.

The number of attacks on police in Suffolk has increased from 321 in 2003-04 to 400 in 2004-05. And when compared to five years ago, when they were 151 incidents, assaults have risen by 164%.

The latest figure represented 4% of all violent crime in Suffolk during the past 12 months.

Philip Smith, secretary of the Suffolk Police Federation, said although the figures included mostly minor assaults, courts needed to come down harder on offenders.


You may also want to watch:


He said: "They have got to get tough on crime as far as assaulting police officers is concerned. We are not society's punch bags. We are there to do a job and we are paid to do that job.

"There are serious assaults but they are infrequent - but every one of those assaults is one too many.

Most Read

"Not every assault on a Pc should attract a prison sentence but with a serious assault there should be no other option but a prison sentence."

Police federation bosses were recently outraged at the "lenient" sentence they felt had been passed to a woman who knocked a police officer unconscious by kicking him in the head during an arrest.

Tracey Meeson, 35, of Ash Close, Brandon, appeared before Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court and was given 180 hours' community punishment after admitting kicking Pc Michael Geeson in the face, causing him to lose consciousness.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said officers were taking a more proactive stance to tackle violent crime in public places - which meant more officers were on the streets and vulnerable to assault.

But he added: "All violence is unacceptable and we will continue to do what we can to ensure our officers are provided with the equipment and training necessary to keep themselves safe."

Mr Smith said he did not want the hazards facing police officers in the county to be taken out of proportion.

"Yes, it's a dangerous job and you don't know what you're going to be confronted with but I would not want Suffolk to be seen as more violent than anywhere else," he said.

He added: "We have got more personal protective equipment than ever before. We are looking at changes to some of those, changing from CS spray to pepper spray. It's sort of an evolving programme all the time."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter