Officers kicked, punched and scalded as attacks on police rise 60 per cent during coronavirus lockdown
Attacks on North Yorkshire police have risen by 60 per cent during lockdown.
Officers and staff have been punched in the head, bitten, spat and coughed at, kicked, scalded with hot water, headbutted and had their eyes gouged.
North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lisa Winward said offenders show a “deplorable attitude to those who are making great sacrifices to serve their communities”.
She vowed that anyone who assaults North Yorkshire Police workers will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
“Throughout the pandemic, officers and staff across the force have been showing a level of commitment, diligence and professionalism that is nothing short of incredible,” she said.
“Some colleagues have made significant personal sacrifices so they can continue to serve the public, such as not living with their families.
“Many have put their own anxieties aside as they face difficult or potentially dangerous situations head-on.
“All have stepped up to the mark to help deliver an exceptional level of policing, right across North Yorkshire.
“So these assaults reflect a deplorable attitude to those who are making a great sacrifice to serve their communities.
“As well as being hugely distressing for the victims, they are also damaging to communities who are appalled by the warped mindset of those who attack people that work so hard to keep others safe.
“We absolutely cannot, and will not, tolerate that. It’s sickening and it’s wrong.
“If you assault an emergency services worker, you will be dealt with robustly to the full extent of the law. It’s that simple.”
North Yorkshire Police Federation said strong court sentences for attackers send out a clear message and can deter would-be offenders.
Since lockdown began in late March, 87 assaults against North Yorkshire Police officers and staff have been reported.
During the same period in 2019, the number was 55. That’s a 58 per cent rise.
In the last month alone, there have been 21 reported offences. The figures cover police officers, PCSOs, custody personnel, police staff, special constables and volunteers.
Incidents include six officers being punched in the face during different incidents - with at least two suffering black eyes and facial swelling
An officer’s hand was bitten, and two other officers were bitten on the knee. An officer was kicked in the side of his head, while another officer had to attend hospital for tests after someone spat in their eye.
Several other officers were spat on, an officer was headbutted in her nose, and an officer was stabbed in the hand with a pen in a custody suite
Many of these cases currently involve criminal charges and ongoing court proceedings.
A number of offenders have already been sentenced, with many receiving immediate prison sentences of a year and more.
North Yorkshire Police Federation Secretary, PC Brad Jackson, said police officers and staff have played a very important role during the pandemic, and strong sentences can help to protect them.
“North Yorkshire Police Federation is incredibly proud of our members' professional response and dedication to serving our public during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Unfortunately we have continued to see incidents of abuse and violence against our officers.”