Calls for tougher action as report reveals shocking number of assaults against West Yorkshire Police officers
Tougher action must be taken against offenders who attack officers, the chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.
There were more than 2,000 assaults against West Yorkshire Police officers recorded last year, leaving hundreds of officers injured, according to a new report.
Nationally, the number of attacks on emergency workers is rising and Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to double the maximum sentence for offenders.
But Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, has called for harsher punishment to stop officers being targeted by attacks.
Mr Booth said: "It does not surprise me that there is still a climbing trend of assaults on my colleagues.
"West Yorkshire Police Federation has been working hard in the background with West Yorkshire Police ensuring that we get the best evidence, the best equipment and the best processes to secure convictions.
"We do appreciate the Home Secretary’s support in doubling the available sentence, but have to ask the question - will this work?
"The courts are not using the maximum sentencing powers currently and are being too soft on offenders.
"A true deterrent would be a minimum custodial sentence starting from six months, removing discretionary sentencing and in turn removing all doubt that this is a serious offence against society."
The report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed there were 2,185 assaults on West Yorkshire Police officers between April 2019 to March 2020.
Of these assaults, 1,721 did not result in physical injury.
But Mr Booth, who represents police officers right across West Yorkshire, said the attacks have a lasting effect on both the assaulted officer and those around them.
He added: "An attack often has a physical effect, but what we sometimes forget is the psychological harm that they cause.
"This may not be just with the assaulted officer, but those around them. The effects of these assaults are far more damaging on society than the physical assault itself.
"We are disgusted with the amount of attacks on officers and will continue to campaign for stronger sentences until the assaults stop."
West Yorkshire Police condemned 'unacceptable' assaults against its officers and said attacks are investigated with the same 'care, compassion and commitment' as an assault on a member of the public.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman, said: “Our officers and staff work tirelessly to protect their communities and we do everything we can to support them as they carry out their role.
“We have an eight point plan to ensure officers and staff who are victims of assaults are given the welfare and support that they need.
"This ensures that each incident is properly recorded and investigated with the same care, compassion and commitment as an assault on a member of the public.
“Any form of assault on our policing colleagues is unacceptable and we seek to prosecute in each and every case, as well as working with partners in the criminal justice to seek the maximum available punishments.”
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