Ten assaults a month against North Yorkshire police officers and staff - but sentencing for attacks has been doubled

Chief Constable Lisa Winward
Chief Constable Lisa Winward

On average, there are ten assaults against North Yorkshire police officers and staff every month - and North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lisa Winward says these assaults will not be tolerated.

CC Winward now provides a written statement in court cases involving physical and verbal assaults and hate crimes against police officers, staff and volunteers.

The maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker has now been doubled from six to 12 months in prison.

Since the start of December, 19 statements from the Chief Constable have been included in case files involving such incidents. In one incident, an offender spat in an officer’s face. In another, an officer was bitten on the leg, breaking the skin.

Part of a statement given by CC Winward outlined the impact of such attacks on frontline policing.

“All too often police officers and staff are subjected to assaults and threats,” it read.

“While the severity of such attacks changes, the impact upon society does not.

“It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated, they are not simply ‘part of the job’.

“While it is clear that the nature of policing requires members of the organisation to handle difficult and hostile situations, assaults upon them are serious and unacceptable.

“The sentencing guidelines reflect this fact and highlight that assaults on public officials performing their duty are an aggravating feature.

“There are many ways in which assaults against public servants impact upon society.

“Each time an officer or member of staff is assaulted there are potential sickness absences. These absences impact acutely on resourcing and the ability of the force to deliver ‘front–line’ policing.

“They also place additional strain on other members of the organisation due to the transfer of work to others, which can have significant impact on the wellbeing of police officers and staff.”

North Yorkshire Police has also introduced a new plan for dealing with assaults on police, which reinforces the fact that the Victims’ Code apples to all victims, including officers, staff and volunteers, and commits to ensuring they receive the right welfare support and supervision.