The startling facts
Police, ambulance, fire and healthcare staff are regularly subjected to assaults on a daily basis. These include serious injury, verbal abuse, spitting and biting and even sexual assault from those they are trying to help.
By the end of 2018, over 1,400 emergency services workers from Devon & Cornwall Police, Dorset Police and Avon & Somerset Police would have been assaulted while carrying out their duties to keep the peace within their local communities.
Sadly, however, it is thought these figures do not represent the entirety of assaults, as many are never reported by the victims.
Working together to protect our emergency services
We have worked with our fellow blue light services from across the South West to develop the #Unacceptable campaign to help achieve our goal of protecting emergency services workers.
Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018
A change in law came into effect on 13 September 2018. The summary of the Act is:
To make provision about offences when perpetrated against emergency workers, and persons assisting such workers; to make certain offences aggravated when perpetrated against such workers in the exercise of their duty; to require persons suspected of certain assaults against such workers which may pose a health risk to provide intimate samples and to make it an offence, without reasonable excuse, to refuse to provide such samples; and for connected purposes.
The sentence is a maximum of 12 months.
ACC Sam de Reya:
"Practically every day officers and staff are assaulted in the course of their duties whilst delivering policing, keeping people safe and protecting our communities. Although staff are unfortunately resigned to the fact that this can happen it is unacceptable that they suffer physical assault including being punched and kicked, abused and spat at. It’s simply not on and can leave a long lasting impact on the people who demonstrate commitment, courage and dedication on a daily basis. We do our best to provide support and care to our people and teams but this should not happen in the first place.
We will not tolerate assaults on our emergency services and will actively seek to bring criminal proceedings against offenders."