The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner is calling for more to be done to tackle assaults against emergency workers, as the numbers of incidents continue to rise.
West Mercia Police has seen a 7% increase in incidents where the victim was an officer or member of staff, with 180 incidents, of which 53 involved injury, reported in just three months.
17% of these victims were repeat victims, with 5 frontline officers, being a victim four times or more, in just a sixth month period**.
New legislation*** was brought in last year, giving the courts the power to impose stronger sentences, and in the year since 259 charges or summons have been brought.****
Commissioner John Campion said “Through my Behind the Badge campaign, we are seeing progress; sentences are becoming tougher for those who assault emergency workers or animals and my investments in body worn video acts as a deterrent, but there is so much more we, as a society as a whole, can do.
We are seeing around two incidents every day, and this is just not acceptable. We need to look at the bigger picture, where alcohol and drugs play a part, and make rehabilitation programmes effective. By tackling these underlying problems, we can do more for our communities, and for our hard working emergency workers.”
* The figures cover July- September 2019, and include all offences were the victim was an officer or member of staff on duty (violence with injury, violence without injury, stalking and harassment, public order, sexual offences and possession of a weapon- threatening) . This is a 7% increase on the previous quarter (April- June 2019) in which 169 incidents were reported, and the third consecutive quarter when recording levels have risen.
** These figures cover the April- September 2019, in which 276 on duty victims were identified, representing 349 offences. 30 of these were the victim of two offences, 13 were the victim of three offences, 5 were the victim of 4 or more offences.
*** The Assault Against Emergency Workers Bill makes certain offences aggravated when committed against emergency workers, giving courts the power to impose stronger sentences, doubling the maximum sentence for an assault against an emergency worker from 6 to 12 months in prison.
**** CPS figures for the West Mercia Area cover charges for assault by beating and common assault of an emergency worker, recorded in Magistrates Court, between December 2018 and October 2019.
Issued: Monday 18th November 2019