Barnsley MP’s urge to combat soaring figures

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Barnsley East MP, Michael Dugher, is calling on ministers to introduce new measures to combat the soaring numbers of attacks on police in Barnsley.

His demand comes after new figures, released by South Yorkshire Police, under freedom of information rules, showed there were 27 assaults on officers across all ranks in the Barnsley policing districts in 2015 – up from 19 assaults in 2014.

However, in the just the first nine months of 2016, the number of assaults soared to 31 – already significantly higher than the whole of 2015.

The attacks come in the wake of the government cuts of £160 million over five years to police budgets across the country that have put forces under increasing strain. More than £50 million has been cut from South Yorkshire’s budget since 2010 with the loss of 800 jobs last year alone.

Following a recent Commons vote, Mr Dugher is calling on PM Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to adopt a three-point plan drawn up by Labour, led by Yorkshire MP Holly Lynch, to combat the violence.

The plan calls for tougher custodial sentences for criminals who assault police, because fines and suspended sentences are an insufficient deterrent; the Home Office to record all assaults on police and to standardise the process across all police forces to help police chiefs and politicians understand the scale of the problem; and an end to government cuts to police budgets to make sure police officers are not sent out on patrol alone.

Mr Dugher said: “The individual men and women serving in our police force do a magnificent job working to keep local people safe. We need tougher sentences for anyone who attacks a police officer so violent thugs realise they face a spell behind bars.”