Figures show there has been a rising number of attacks on emergency workers in the Thames Valley.

The Police Federation described the “appaling” rise in offences nationally as a stain on society and said emergency workers should be able to carry out their duties safely.

Home Office figures show Thames Valley Police recorded 1,435 assaults on emergency workers in the year to March.

Most of the alleged victims were police constables – there were 1,036 assaults without injury on PCs last year and 247 with injury, while there were 152 on other emergency workers.

The total number recorded last year was up from 1,361 in 2020-21, when assaults on emergency workers who are not police constables were recorded for the first time.

Across the two nations, 44,600 emergency worker assaults were recorded in 2021-22 – a rise of 10 per cent on the 40,400 the year before.

Since the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill came into law in 2018, the maximum prison sentence for common assault on an emergency worker has been 12 months.

The offence applies to attacks on ‘blue light’ workers such as the police, paramedics and fire fighters, along with many others, including prison officers, NHS workers, and St John’s Ambulance volunteers.

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The Police Federation said the rise in assaults on emergency workers is appalling and must not be tolerated or seen as just part of the job.

National chairman of the Police Federation Steve Hartshorn said: “Crime levels rose once Covid restrictions were lifted and a split-second act of violence, whether an injury is sustained or not, often leaves devastating and long-term effects on police officers.

“The physical and mental scars of these assaults can last a lifetime and are unacceptable.

“Assaults on emergency workers are a stain on society and many of these assaults which are recorded without an injury would have been vile spitting and coughing attacks.”

He said it is vital judges and magistrates make full use of the new law to ensure the sentence handed down reflects the seriousness and gravity of the crime.

Separate figures show the proportion of offenders charged has fallen nationwide, from 68 per cent to just 62 per cent in 2021-22.

In the Thames Valley, 1,356 emergency worker assault investigations concluded last year, with 60 per cent resulting in a charge or summons – down from 64 per cent in 2020-21.

PTSD 999, a support organisation for all emergency services, said stronger sentencing for offenders would protect both the public and those facing assaults.

Co-founder of the group Gary Hayes said: “Assaults on emergency service workers can be traumatising but not necessarily at the time of the event, the effects on the individual may present itself days, weeks, months or years later.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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