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Hundreds of assaults on officers recorded; Incidents soar to 1,237 between 2017 and 2018.

Byline: Kali Lindsay Reporter kali.lindsay@reachplc.com

kali.lindsay@reachplc.com SHOCKING figures from the Home Office reveal the number of violent assaults on police officers is soaring.

Around three officers are attacked while at work every single day in the North East, on average.

Across the North East, the latest crime figures reveal officers were assaulted 1,237 times in 2017-18, with 250 of those attacks resulting in injury.

This is the first year that the number of assaults on officers that lead to injury has been recorded, as previously these came under the umbrella of violence with injury.

It means that it is not possible to compare the total number of assaults on police officers with previous years.

However, we do know that the 987 assaults without injury in the last year is up from 831 in 2016/17, and is 63% higher than the 607 attacks recorded in 2012-13.

Northumbria Police saw the number of attacks increase from 266 five years ago to 518, with 105 assaults resulting in injury last year.

The spike in attacks on police officers seen in the North East is particularly sharp, but part of a national trend.

Northumbria Police's Assistant Chief Constable Ged Noble said: "It is completely unacceptable for police officers or staff to be assaulted or threatened - this can never simply be considered 'part of the job.'.

"As well as the physical injuries colleagues suffer, it is also important to recognise there can be far-reaching psychological effects.

"The force has a number of support networks in place to help those who are victims of assault and we are committed to providing this for as long as is needed."

The number of Durham Constabulary police officers being assaulted is heading back towards levels similar to those at the start of the century.

A total of 319 officers were assaulted without injury in 1999/00, increasing to 355 and 356 - the highest in the last 18 years - over the next two years.

Assaults started to decline in late 2000s, with 212 officers assaulted in 2007/08 and 224 the following year.

Numbers started to dip at the turn of the decade, with the lowest number of assaults recorded was in 2012/13.

A total of 160 officers were attacked but the numbers have started to increase year on year since then, peaking last year, when 308 assaults occurred - the first time it has been more than 300 in 12 years.

A spokeswoman for Durham Constabulary said: "Officers should not have to consider assault as 'just part of the job.' .' Our PCs are there to serve the public and should not be subject to violence. We take assaults against police officers very seriously."

Meanwhile, Cleveland Police has seen the number of assaults on officers drop from 179 to 162 over the last three years.

Chief Constable Mike Veale said the force's officers and staff do an amazing job every day.

He added: "Just like everyone else, they should not expect to be hurt or abused whilst carrying out their duties.

"Being assaulted should never be seen as simply part of the job. Their welfare is of paramount importance and we will do everything we can to ensure their safety."

The force will not tolerate any form of abuse directed at officers, staff or volunteers, he said, and anyone behind it will be dealt with robustly.

Across England and Wales, 18,114 assaults on officers (without injury) were recorded in 2017-18 - up from 16,536 the year before, and 25% higher than the 14,527 recorded five years ago.

On a further 8,146 occasions in the last year, police officers were injured in a physical attack.

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| Durham Constabulary officers suffered more assaults than they had for some 12 years
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Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 2, 2018
Words:630
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