Lincolnshire Police say they take attacks on officers extremely serious as it was revealed that one is assaulted every day on average.
117 were injured while on duty in 2021, and another 318 were attacked.
These can have a severe impact on victims, an officer who leads the force’s policy says, with charges being brought against offenders wherever possible.
“Officers are always going to be in high-risk situation where there’s a potential for violence. Alcohol, drugs and prior violence can make it even more challenging,” Sergeant Lee Johnson said.
“There seems to be less deference towards emergency workers lately.
“Other services are also seeing increased assaults and ambulance thefts, for example. There’s work to be done in terms of getting trust back and bringing the number of assaults down.
“There’s also a lot more recognition about the threats that officers face. Even just seven to eight years ago, these figures weren’t being counted nationally. Now forces have the confidence to report what is happened to officers.
“The impact on officers who have to go home and explain their injuries to their families can be severe. No officer should be assaulted for simply doing their job.”
The Police Sentencing Bill has recently increased the maximum prison sentence for people assaulting emergency workers from one up to two years.
“This has been a while coming, but it is certainly a good message from the government,” Sergeant Johnson says.
“It’s Lincolnshire Police’s policy to take attacks very seriously, and look at charges wherever there is the evidence. However, we also take into account the thoughts and feelings of the victims, and may look at other diverting options for younger offenders.
“Every officer who is attacked has access to counselling and someone to talk to if they wish, as well as physiotherapy and compensation if it is relevant. This also applies to people who have suffered homophobic abuse, sexual assaults and death threats.”
He says that Lincolnshire Police is fortunate not to have had many serious injuries, with the worst being the stabbing of PC Steven Denniss who was trying to apprehend double-murderer Daniel Boulton.
Boulton received 40 years for the murders of Bethany Vincent and Darren Henson, and 21 months for the assault on PC Denniss.
However, less serious assaults can still have significant consequences, Sergeant Johnson said.
“If someone spits at in officer’s face or mouth, they will likely need to go to hospital for anti-viral treatment. There were cases in the pandemic when people tried to deliberately infect officers with Covid,” he said.
“Nationally there were 30,000 assaults on officers around the country last year – that’s one every 20 minutes.
“Protecting officers is an ongoing work, and we will to continue to improve our support for them.”