Increase in assaults on police but big fall in officer injuries

An urgent review into police safety has been launched
An urgent review into police safety has been launched

The overall number of assaults on officers rose in Greater Manchester last year although attacks when they were injured are down.

An urgent review into police safety has been launched, with the Police Federation of England and Wales saying the attacks are “completely unacceptable”, and calling for a wider roll-out of Tasers.

Home Office data shows that 1,093 assaults on officers were recorded by GMP in 2018-19, compared to 1,031 during the previous year. The rise is smaller than that across England and Wales, where assaults on officers increased 18 per cent during the period, to almost 31,000.

The Home Office said the figures are likely to underestimate the total number of assaults in some forces, as many officers see it as part of the job, and do not report them.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Officers should not have to face assault but we know there are risks in standing up to criminals and protecting our communities. Training, teamwork and public support give them the confidence to face those risks.

“I have commissioned an end-to-end review of officer safety – from training, to equipment, to the criminal justice outcomes when an officer is assaulted.”

The figure for GMPe represents assaults in which officers were injured, and ones in which they were not physically hurt. Attacks resulting in an injury dropped during the period, from 322 to 233.

This bucks the trend across England and Wales, where injuries to officers in assaults increased 27 per cent, to around 10,400.

John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The rise in assaults on our officers is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as just part of the job. The recent surge of serious, high-profile attacks is a serious concern, and the Federation will continue to push for a wider roll-out of Tasers, supporting all frontline officers who want to carry one in passing the required assessments to do so.

“It is not a nice-to-have device – it is an essential piece of kit, which without doubt has saved the lives of officers and the public.”