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Calls for tougher sentencing as man jailed for punching Sussex police officer

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There are calls for tougher sentences for assaulting a police officer, after a man is jailed for 18 weeks for the offence.

In shocking body cam footage, one officer in Worthing is seen being punched in the face by a man while he was being arrested for criminal damage.

  • WATCH: Body cam footage shows assault on Worthing police officer

The court heard that the officer was with a colleague patrolling Broadwater Street West on Saturday night.

They received a report that a drunk man was threatening members of the public and acting aggressively, before he was seen kicking a parked car and breaking the wing mirror off.

As they went to arrest him for criminal damage, he began attacking the officers and punched one of them in the face cutting his forehead and causing bruising and swelling to his eye and nose.

Edward Elsden-Smith, 22, of Offington Lane, Worthing, pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker Credit: Sussex Police

22-year-old Edward Elsden-Smith of Offington Lane in Worthing, appeared at Worthing Magistrates' Court on 12 March.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker, criminal damage, breaching a community order and breaching a suspended prison sentence order, which he had been given for head butting another police officer and assaulting two other police officers in Worthing in May last year.

He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and £85 costs.

Elsden-Smith's behaviour and actions were outrageous and violent towards the officer who was trying to protect the public. Our officers and staff find themselves in a wide variety of often unpredictable and fast moving situations. We do not believe that any form of assault is acceptable and should never be viewed as part of the job. We don't tolerate violence against anyone in Sussex including our own officers and staff and are robust in pursuing the offenders and bringing them to justice."

– Detective Sergeant Kieran McDonald, Sussex Police
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The current six-month maximum sentence for common assault was doubled to a year for the new crime created by the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, which was given royal assent last October.

Last week, Hampshire Police Federation said that assaults on police officers were becoming 'more socially acceptable' but assured officers that the courts would be very 'strict and stern' to offenders.

I think it's become more socially acceptable. Cops aren't naive - they understand that on occasion, because of the nature of the work, they may get assaulted. But what they need to understand is that society protects them and looks after them. So if they are injured, they need to understand that the courts will be very strict and actually give out what we would deemed to be appropriate and stern sentences, so criminals really understand the consequences of assaulting a police officer."

– Alex Charge, Chair, Hampshire Police Federation