Most attacks on police were in London during coronavirus pandemic

·2-min read
Stock image: Most assaults, with or without injury, took place on officers in London as the Met recorded 6,419 incidents (PA Archive)
Stock image: Most assaults, with or without injury, took place on officers in London as the Met recorded 6,419 incidents (PA Archive)

Attacks on police officers have risen during the pandemic, with official figures revealing there were more than 100 assaults on officers in England and Wales daily.

Figures reported there has been 36,969 assaults on police in the year following the outbreak in March 2020 which represented a 20 per cent rise on the previous year.

Most assaults, with or without injury, took place on officers in London as the Met recorded 6,419 incidents.

The increase was mainly a result of a rise in assaults on police officers “without injury” which includes instances of deliberately spitting or coughing on officers or where violations of social distancing were recorded.

These “without injury” assaults rose by 21 per cent from the previous year, with 25,734 incidences.

However, assaults on police officers leading to injury were also up 1 per cent from the previous year with 11,235 offences recorded.

West Yorkshire recorded 2,160 attacks and Kent had 1,594 assaults.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation, said throughout the pandemic his team had been subject to a “disgusting level of violence”.

“We now have the figures to prove just how dire the situation has been for my colleagues on the ground,” he told The Guardian.

“More than 100 of my colleagues are assaulted every single day, that’s a staggering number and something society must not accept. Many of these recorded attacks involve vile individuals who have spat on or coughed at police officers, weaponising the virus and threatening to spread it to them and their families.

“The sentencing guidelines have been changed and I would urge judges and magistrates to use these powers to set an example to those who are assaulting our colleagues, those responsible must spend time in prison. This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

Sarah Jones, shadow policing minister, asked for police to have better protection.

She told the paper: “The impact of running into danger and serving the public on police officers cannot be underestimated. The government must take real action to improve the standard of wellbeing support for police across the country.”

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