Number of attack on South Yorkshire police officers doubles

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Police officers in South Yorkshire are increasingly coming under attack while trying to protect our streets, shocking figures reveal.

The number of officers being assaulted or wounded attempting to make arrests across South Yorkshire has nearly doubled over the last five years.

Last year, 256 injuries were reported by officers who had been assaulted or involved in a violent struggle trying to detain a suspect. In 2013, that figure was 129.

The statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by The Star, show one officer was seriously injured last year and six more required at least seven days off work after being attacked or wounded making arrests.

In April last year, PC Lisa Bates was left with a partially-severed finger, a fractured skull and a broken leg after being attacked with an axe by Nathan Sumner in Gleadless Valley, Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Police launched a campaign after the sickening attack, encouraging staff to report their injuries.

It believes that could be partially responsible for the spike in injuries recorded during 2016, though the number had risen steadily during preceding years.

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley, of SYP, said that officers were ‘acutely aware’ of the dangers they may face while on duty but the attack on PC Bates had ‘really brought it home’.

He said: “Since the launch of the campaign, we have seen an increase in the number of officers reporting incidents to us.

“We have a detailed and thorough internal process to support officers who have been injured while on duty and we will always do everything we can to ensure their welfare.”

He added that supervisors always assessed the risk before sending officers on jobs to ensure they were properly equipped.

The Police Federation, which represents officers across England and Wales, has called for harsher sentences for those who assault emergency service workers and has launched its campaign to Protect the Protectors.