More body cameras pledge as ‘unacceptable’ attacks on police rise

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. Picture: Suffolk PCC

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. Picture: Suffolk PCC - Credit: Archant

A pledge has been made to invest more in body cameras amid a rise in the number of attacks on officers.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore is pledging to do all he can to protect officers and staff after Home Office figures showed more than 300 assaults were reported in Suffolk last year.

At least 82 of the 341 attacks in 2017-18 led to injuries, while 259 were listed as assaults without injury. That figure is up nine per cent on the previous year, 2015-16.

'Any attack on any of our police officers is utterly deplorable and there is no excuse for such behaviour,' said Mr Passmore.

'My police and crime plan specifically refers to my commitment to officers and staff.

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'I will do all I can to ensure our frontline officers have the equipment they need to help keep them safe, which includes a significant investment in body worn video cameras.'

Darren Harris, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, also condemned any attack on an officer. He revealed at least 10 reported being punched, kicked, spat at and bitten in the last week alone.

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Some of the attacks required hospital treatment, he added, branding the incidents 'totally unacceptable'.

'An assault on a police officer is an assault on society,' said Mr Harris. 'We are there to help and protect. The last four or so weeks have been particularly bad.

'Officers are being punched, kicked, spat at and experiencing really quite violent attacks.

'If you think about it 341 assaults is almost one officer every day, which is just horrific.'

He said a number of factors could be to blame for a recent surge in attacks.

'The weather has been absolutely lovely, and although we can't be completely sure of the reasons I do reckon that's had an impact,' he added.

'More people are out and about, and there's alcohol involved.'

In terms of the year-on-year increase, Mr Harris said this could also be down to a variety of issues. He added: 'We have a smaller number of police officers on the streets than we did eight years ago,' he said. 'We are also being called out to more and more mental health incidents, and sometimes people in distress can become violent.

'In any case, it does have a real effect on my members. They don't want to be assaulted, and when it happens they often take sick leave. It's a vicious circle.'

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