Police kicked, punched and spat at

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NEW figures have revealed a shocking number of assaults on Wigan police officers.

During June 2010 and May 2012, there were a staggering 110 violent incidents towards serving men and women in the borough.

The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, include instances when officers have been punched, slapped, kicked or spat at, amongst others.

Supt Julian Snowball of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan division said: “We have seen an increase all over Greater Manchester in these cases not just in Wigan.

“Assault on a constable holds its own criminal charge, which shows how serious these incidents are regarded.”

The festive season between late 2010 and early 2011 was the worst period with 21 incidents from November to January. There were seven assaults in August last year and again in May 2012.

Supt Snowball said: “We don’t go to work expecting to be assaulted. It shouldn’t happen but we recognise that we deal with unpredictable members of society and that is why we provide safety training and conflict management skills to equip officers for the unpredictable nature of their role.

“Officers are going about their jobs for the people of Wigan. I can’t afford to have them assaulted and taken off their duties, it really can affect the service we provide.”

“This isn’t about figures, this is about human beings who have families coming to work doing a job for the community. And I’m sure the vast majority of the people in Greater Manchester and Wigan don’t want to see their officers assaulted.”

Paul Murphy, chairman of the GMP Authority, said: “These figures are obviously very concerning. Officers put their own safety on the line every day to keep our communities safe, but this is no excuse for them being a target of violence.

“The Police Authority is reassured that the force takes all necessary steps to protect all members of staff and they treat incidents like this extremely seriously.

“Support is also in place for officers and staff who are affected.”