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'Time for action on officer assaults'

People who assault police officers should feel the full weight of the law, according to Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation.

Tiff has again spoken out on the issue after three Leicestershire officers were assaulted over the weekend with one incident leading to a PC sustaining a broken wrist.

"We are seeing a surge in assaults on police officers and staff," says Tiff, "Of course, officers accept that they work in a role that will see them dealing with people who are agitated, distressed or confused.

"But police officers are not there to act as punch bag for members of the public and if someone strikes a police officer, spits at them, scratches them or assaults them in any way they should expect a harsh sentence from the courts."

Leicestershire Police Federation is backing a national Police Federation campaign calling on MPs to back the police service and support calls for tougher sentencing for those who assault police officers, police staff and other emergency service personnel.

Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, has taken up the fight on the Federation's behalf and has raised her concerns in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Tiff has written to all Leicestershire MPs urging them to support the campaign and asking them to meet with her to discuss the issue.

"So far, only four of the 10 Leicestershire MPs have responded to my letter, with two agreeing to a meeting," says Tiff.

"I am really disappointed at this apparent lack of interest in a matter of such importance and will be writing to all the MPs again shortly and trying to arrange to meet them face to face.

"Police officers play a vital role in society; an attack on a police officer should be seen as an attack on society and as such I would have expected our MPs to be concerned about this issue."

In the year to the end of March 2016, 330 Leicestershire officers reported they had been assaulted. However, the Federation believes the actual number is higher since some officers do not report assaults.

Last year, at the instigation of Leicestershire Police Federation, Leicestershire Police launched a seven-point plan on officer assaults pledging to fully support officers who are attacked in the line of duty.