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Being assaulted is not part of the day job - Our pledge

This morning (Friday 13 May) Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch, Leicestershire Police UNISON branch secretary Chris Hanrahan and Chief Constable Simon Cole signed a seven-point pledge committing to thoroughly investigate and record deliberate assaults on police officers and staff.

Chris Hanrahan,Tiff Lynch and Chief Constable Simon Cole signing the pledge.

Current statistics show that in Leicestershire in 2015/16 a total of 78 police officers and seven members of staff were assaulted although this is not thought to be an accurate picture as not all assaults have been logged on the crime recording database or the human resources database.

Tiff explained: "Police officers and police staff regularly put themselves in harm's way as they go about their duties serving their communities, fighting and preventing crime, protecting the vulnerable and keeping order.

"All too often while they are carrying out their roles, they become victims of assaults themselves. They are kicked, punched, spat at and, in some cases, weapons are used against them. There has been a tendency for these assaults to be seen as part of the job and sometimes these assaults are not investigated or if they are, all too often cases are dropped at court. That is simply not acceptable.

"Members of the public should be prosecuted if they assault an officer, or a member of police staff, and equally those officers and staff should receive the same support as other victims of crime.

"A victim of any assault can suffer not just physical scars but mental trauma too. A police officer can have no option but to report sick due to their injuries and this can impact on the force's ability to respond to other calls for assistance. The effects of an assault can also impact family members."

The Chief Constable added: "There are a number of dedicated police officers and staff who are assaulted while carrying out their duty to protect our communities. I strongly believe that we should not only be seeking prosecution of people who assault our staff but, perhaps more importantly, we should be supporting officers and staff to ensure that they are able to continue their work. We recognise that there can be a long term impact on a victim's mental health and we have a number of resources available via occupational health, the MIND Bluelight campaign and a telephone counselling service as well as peer support with staff trained in mental health first aid."

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, highlighted the fact that there is no consistent recording of officer assaults when he addressed the national Police Federation conference in May last year. Since then, he has headed a national campaign to ensure the Government, the police service and the Crown Prosecution Service take the matter of assaults on staff seriously.

Posters outlining the seven-point pledge will be displayed in buildings across the Force.