South Yorkshire Police Federation calls for mandatory prison sentences for 'idiots' who assault officers
‘Idiots’ who assault police officers should receive mandatory prison sentences, according to the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation.
Nationally, a total of 1,688 offences between April 1 and September 30 last year were classed by the Crown Prosecution Service as assaults on emergency workers.
South Yorkshire police officers suffered a 55 per cent increase in attacks last summer compared to the same period the year before.
And between March 23 and November 15 last year, an average of 16 attacks were reported by South Yorkshire cops each week compared to 12 over the same period the year before – an increase of 30 per cent.
South Yorkshire Police Federation Chairman, Steve Kent, said the problem had been exacerbated by curfews and suspended sentences being handed down for such assaults.
“Early on in Covid people were getting suspended sentences and curfews which was ridiculous,” he said.
“In late summer last year we saw assaults on our officers rise by 55 per cent on the year before. It’s a massive difference.
“There needs to be mandatory sentences for assaults on emergency workers involving an injury rather than an aspirational one.
“I do welcome that sentences are being made harsher, but it doesn’t mean that the judges and the magistrates are going to take that line.
“A mandatory sentence for a conviction of assaulting a police officer is going to be the only thing that gets into the heads of these idiots out there who repeatedly assault officers, spit at officers, cough at officers.”
He said sentences of six months behind bars would act as deterrent.
“They’ll only do it once with a sentence of automatic six months for what they see as a low assault on an officer,” he said.
“I understand it’s a challenging time at the minute with Covid, but it’s not good enough. We need to protect the people out there who are enforcing this lockdown and are trying to protect the public.
“I will never go more than a day or two without seeing an officer’s been assaulted while either making an arrest or while trying to help somebody.
“It happens all the time, sadly. It’s not decreasing, and there needs to be a change in public opinion and an opinion amongst the judiciary types to deal with this robustly.”