The number of assaults on police officers in Suffolk has almost doubled in a year.

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Latest figures show attacks on officers recorded as crimes increased from 37 in 2010/11 to 73 in 2011/12. The total of seriously-injured officers rose from three to eight over the same period, while reported assaults on officers, special constables, or police community support officers, which were not recorded as crimes, rose by 20pc from 271 to 327.

According to the latest figures for Norfolk, 1,824 assaults on officers have been referred to the force’s Occupation Health and Safety Department between 2000 and 2011. But figures have shown a big fall since 2008, with 121 assaults in 2009/10 dropping to 87 in 2010/11.

Suffolk Police Federation believe the increases reflect the changing nature of society and the consequences of government cuts which have led to a reduction in officers.

It claims the decrease means that on occasions if there are not enough officers able to attend the scene of a potentially violent incident, a suspect or suspects may be more inclined towards assaulting police.

However, the federation recognised Suffolk Constabulary did as much as it could to prepare its members for the risks they face.

Matt Gould, federation chairman, said: “Our members are facing these dangers and are being assaulted on a more frequent basis. We feel it cannot be avoided, and that reducing the numbers of police officers and the increasing number of assaults are connected.

“From our perspective the force are offering the best officer safety training available. However, the job is becoming increasingly violent or members of the public are offering increasing levels of violence.

“There is not a magic wand to wave at this point. However, we all know the certainty of being caught is the greatest deterrent for people who commit these type of offences.”

Suffolk police stressed the force did as much as it could to protect its officers by giving them skills to deal with difficult situations.

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman, said: “Policing is a physically demanding job, with officers placing themselves in challenging situations on a daily basis in order to protect others. Officers receive extensive training to reduce the likelihood of being victims of assault.”

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Our front-line officers do sometimes have to face dangerous situations and confront violent people. We would commend our staff for their bravery and for their ability to meet a range of challenges on a daily basis in order to protect the public and uphold the law.”

mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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