Attacks on police officers are rising, home office data shows

The Police Federation of England and Wales 'will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers'.
The Police Federation of England and Wales 'will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers'.

The number of serious attacks on officers resulting in injury rose in North Yorkshire last year, figures reveal.

An urgent review into police safety has been launched, with the Police Federation of England and Wales saying the attacks are “completely unacceptable”, and calling for a wider roll-out of Tasers.

Home Office data shows that 103 assaults resulting in officer injuries were recorded by North Yorkshire Police in 2018-19, compared to 93 during the previous year.

The rise in such attacks is slightly smaller than that across England and Wales, where injuries to officers through assault increased 27% during the period, to around 10,400.

The data was published for the first time in 2017-18, when “assault with injury on a constable” became a new category of crime.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “The rise in assaults on our officers is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as just part of the job.

“The recent surge of serious, high-profile attacks is a serious concern, and the Federation will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers, supporting all frontline officers who want to carry one in passing the required assessments to do so.”

Mr Apter added that Tasers were only part of the solution, and that society must not tolerate such behaviour towards the police.

North Yorkshire Police also recorded 261 assaults without injury on officers in 2018-19, up from 231 the previous year.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Officers should not have to face assault but we know there are risks in standing up to criminals and protecting our communities.

“Training, teamwork and public support give them the confidence to face those risks.”

Last year, Parliament passed a new law to double the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers from six to 12 months.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Being attacked should never be part of the job for our courageous police officers, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.”