Seven Essex police attacked in one weekend
PUBLISHED: 16:01 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:01 23 November 2018
Punched, kicked, bitten and spat at in the line of duty, seven police officers were attacked in one weekend on the streets of Essex.
In four incidents on November 17 and 18, seven officers and a PCSO were assaulted by members of the public - and the behaviour has been condemned by Essex Police Federation chairman Steve Taylor.
Mr Taylor described the behaviour as “simply unacceptable” as he called for the the full force of the law to be used against those that endanger the lives of officers.
He said: “No assault is acceptable, however we still seem to be seeing members of the public assuming it is okay to headbutt and punch police officers.
“Their actions have led to officers being taken off the street for visits to hospital and depriving them of valuable family time.
“We had hoped that the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act would have had a deterrent effect against these assaults, but unfortunately that deterrent didn’t come soon enough for our officers this weekend.
“We will now watch with interest to see how the courts will determine this.”
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act came into force in September this year, increasing the severity of assaults on emergency workers and those assisting them.
The changes to the law are supposed to act as a deterrent, with the maximum sentence increased from six months to 12 months for one offence.
Those suspected of assaulting emergency workers can also be made to provide samples in connection to those attacks.
The act was bought in to protect firefighters and paramedics who are also attacked by those they are trying to help.
Kevin Brown, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust’s director of service delivery, said: “Violence against ambulance staff on any level is unacceptable and we welcome that this will now be a crime in its own right.
“Last year, 34% of ambulance staff reported experiencing physical violence from patients or members of the public.
“The people we care for, and the bystanders around them, have a choice – don’t choose to abuse.
Mr Taylor continued: “An assault on an emergency worker is an assault on society itself.
“Some of the attackers are in the process of going through the criminal justice system. It would be a double insult if they were to get away with any of these attacks.
“After all, how can we protect the community if we are in hospital ourselves?”
Mr Taylor said that all of the officers involved in assaults this weekend had been approached by the federation to encourage them to share their experiences with the public.
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