Call for tougher sentences for attacks on police officers, ambulance workers and firefighters in Norfolk
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
Tougher sentences for people who attack emergency service workers are today demanded by Norfolk’s chief constable and police commissioner.
The call was made on the day Parliament will discuss attacks on police, ambulance crews and firefighters and as it was revealed there were more 300 assaults on Norfolk police officers in just over six months.
The government will today discuss a private members bill which would double the maximum sentence for common assault on on-duty emergency workers, from six months to a year.
With 333 Norfolk police officers assaulted since the start of April this year, the county’s chief constable Simon Bailey and police and crime commissioner Lorne Green have written to justice secretary David Lidington saying the law needs to be changed.
The pair said: “The national trend in increased assaults is reflected in our county. We believe that stronger sentencing would be both appropriate to the gravity of the offence and send a strong deterrent signal.
“Notwithstanding the emotional and welfare impact that these absences have on the individual officers, the levels of absence also impact on colleagues both in absorbing the impact of the absence and maintaining the service that the public expect and deserve from Norfolk police.
“Some of these injuries require long term care for the officers and staff, for example where an officer has been bitten or spat at, and a number of tests are required.”
The boss of the region’s ambulance service has also called for tougher sentences. There were 256 assaults on East of England Ambulance Service staff in 2016/17.
Robert Morton, the service’s chief executive, said: “Ambulance staff save lives and protect the vulnerable. It is totally unacceptable that they face any form of violence or aggression, whether in person or over the phone when they are trying to do their best for our patients.
“We continue to work closely with the police to ensure that action is taken against those who assault our staff. One assault against our staff is one too many.
“Having seen first hand the impact violence and aggression can have on my colleagues, I have in the past and will continue to call for much tougher sentences for people who assault ambulance staff and other emergency workers.”