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Conference 2016 | Forces shouldn't find it "difficult" to get officer assault figures


Chief Constables should know the true level of violence against their officers, the Police Federation conference has heard.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said he "doesn't accept" that some forces find it too difficult to get data on the level of attacks on their officers.

Speaking about the Home Office's decision to gather officer assault data from forces' criminal records, he said "the only issue is that they are asking for it on a voluntary basis so it's up to forces".

"Some forces say they find it difficult to get that data but I don't accept that. My message to Chief Constables is surely you want to know true level of violence against your staff on a daily basis?

"If we're to deal with this issue we need to know how big it is. Believe me, it's bigger than the 23,000 assaults on officers across England and Wales that we currently know about. When we put the true picture to judiciary they will start to sit up and listen."

He added that Hampshire have put together a new system of supporting officers who have been assaulted after the force discovered that officers who had suffered so-called "minor" assaults had "slipped through the net".

He said: "If officers are really honest, they do lack confidence after they've been assaulted. When we drilled into the data we found that officers of so-called minor offences had been repeat victims.

"They had a lack of confidence in their own ability - they thought they were doing something wrong.

"In some cases it was those who hadn't had a serious assault who went on long-term sick leave and had mental health issues. A little but of support goes a long way."

Alex Marshall, CEO of the College of Policing, said the 7-point plan on officer assaults could "make a real difference" and called on all forces to adopt it.

He said: "It might be foreseeable that officers dealing with dangerous situations will be injured but it is not acceptable. What so impresses me is the way the 7-point plan takes a longstanding concern and offers it as a simple and straightforward plan.

"If we follow it in every force, it will make a real difference. Its beauty is its simplicity."

 

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