Police chiefs warn attacks on officers will not be tolerated as assaults rise

Attacks on police have risen by a third

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner says she's 'horrified' after new figures show attacks on police have risen by a third.

Kathryn Holloway said she'd been particularly shocked at reports some police had been coughed or spat at by people claiming to have coronavirus.

Her comments come as the force reported a 32% increase in assaults on police officers for the year-to-date, with 37 assaults recorded in April already.

Other forces have also reported similar attacks. Earlier this week the Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary said assaults on police officers and other emergency and key workers would not be tolerated.

Figures released by Bedfordshire Police reveal that between January and March last year, 58 assaults were recorded, compared to 74 in the same period of 2020 alone – a rise of almost a third.

Recent attacks include a man who has been charged with assaulting officers by allegedly coughing in their faces, he is due before court in May.

A man was also recently jailed for 20 weeks’ j for spitting at frontline NHS workers. Both incidents were captured as relating directly to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Suffolk incidents include a man assaulting a female officer after police tried to break up a mass gathering in Mildenhall at the weekend. And in Lowestoft a 28-year-old woman was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, she was then charged with assault on an emergency worker when she deliberately coughed in the face of an officer.

Kathryn Holloway

Chairman of the Bedfordshire Police Federation, Stephen Bozward, said: “Police officers put their lives on the line daily to protect the public, and assaults should never be accepted as part of the job. An attack on a police officer is an attack on society, and any assault on an emergency service worker should automatically attract a custodial sentence.