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Assaults cost police 1,166 days.

INJURED police officers in the West Midlands had to take 1,166 days off to recover following assaults, it was revealed today.

Officers needed an average of seven days off after the attacks in 2007-08, with the majority suffering injuries to their face, arms or hands.

There was also an increase in the number of officers being spat at or racially abused, statistics show. While attacks on male officers in the 8,638-strong force fell compared to the previous year, assaults on Wpcs rose by more than five per cent.

Today, a senior officer called for tougher sentences on those convicted over attacks on police. Insp Andy Gilbert, chairman of the West Midlands branch of the Police Federation said some were allowed to walk free from courts with paltry fines or community service orders.

Insp Gilbert said: "It's important, when people are caught for assaulting a police officer, they are punished appropriately.

"There has to be a deterrent. It's an assault on society. The criminal justice system has to protect that Thin Blue Line that helps keep society stable." He also dismissed calls for officers to patrol on their own, saying it was safer and more effective for the officers to work in pairs.

He spoke out after the figures were released by Policing Minister Vernon Coaker in a written parliamentary answer.

The figures were collated after West Midlands Police director of personnel David Williams ordered a study into assaults and accidents on staff. They show that: While the number of attacks on male officers fell by eight per cent compared to the year before, assaults on female officers increased by 5.5 per cent.

Alcohol was blamed as the greatest "behavioural impact" for assaults, with most assaults taking placed between 10pm and 3am.

The number of incidents where a weapon was used fell by almost 40 per cent, although the most common weapons were a vehicle and then a knife.

West Mercia lost 354 working days due to assaults on staff last year while Staffordshire police lost 174 days and Warwickshire lost 24 days.

The Metropolitan Police recorded the most sick days due to assault with officers taking 5,848 days off to recover..
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 18, 2009
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