'One Lincolnshire Police officer assaulted every day'
Assaults on officers in Lincolnshire Police average one per day, according to the latest figures.
While on duty in 2021 more than 100 officers were injured and another 318 were attacked.
The force says it takes these attacks extremely seriously.
Sgt Lee Johnson, an officer who leads the force’s policy, says officers are always going to be in high-risk situations where there is a potential for violence, and that alcohol and drugs can make their work even more challenging.
But threats and violence directed at them can have a severe impact on officers, and so charges are being brought against offenders wherever possible.
“There seems to be less deference towards emergency workers lately," said Sgt Johnson. “Other services are also seeing increased assaults and ambulance thefts, for example.
"There is work to be done in terms of getting back trust and bringing down the number of assaults."
He added that assaults against officers are being recognised more frequently and that forces now have greater confidence about reporting incidents.
“The impact on officers who have to go home and explain their injuries to their families can be severe," said Sgt Johnson. "No officer should be assaulted for simply doing their job.”
The Police Sentencing Bill has recently increased the maximum prison sentence for assaulting emergency workers from one up to two years, which Sgt Johnson believes is sending the right message.
“It is Lincolnshire Police’s policy to take attacks very seriously and look at charges wherever there is the evidence," he said.
“Every officer who is attacked has access to counselling and someone to talk to if they wish, as well as physiotherapy and compensation if it is relevant.
"This also applies to people who have suffered homophobic abuse, sexual assaults and death threats.”
He says that Lincolnshire Police is fortunate not to have had many serious injuries - the worst was the stabbing of PC Steven Denniss, who was trying to apprehend double-murderer Daniel Boulton in Louth.
Boulton received 40 years for the murders of Bethany Vincent and Darren Henson, and 21 months for the assault on PC Denniss.
Less serious assaults can still have significant consequences, Sgt Johnson said.
“If someone spits at in officer’s face or mouth, they will likely need to go to hospital for anti-viral treatment. There were cases in the pandemic when people tried to deliberately infect officers with covid,” he said.
“Nationally there were 30,000 assaults on officers around the country last year – one every 20 minutes. Protecting officers is an ongoing work, and we will to continue to improve our support for them.”