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Jail for man who attacked police officers in weekend of ‘shocking violence’

PUBLISHED: 15:50 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:50 18 September 2018

Picture: Archant

Picture: Archant

A man has been jailed after admitting head-butting, punching and threatening to kill police officers during a weekend of what was branded “shocking violence”.

Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. Picture Andy SymondsAndy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. Picture Andy Symonds

Ashley Ward, 34, of Rook Drive in Taverham, pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates Court after an incident at his home address on Saturday.

It happened at about 8.30pm when officers were called to his home because of fears over the safety of someone in the house. Ward was verbally abusive to officers before trying to punch one.

Police said Ward head-butted one officer resulting in a split lip and swelling to the face. He also head-butted a second officer, resulting in a bloody nose, whilst making threats to harm him.

Ward was restrained and taken to Aylsham Police Investigation Centre, with his actions captured on body worn cameras.

He was charged with three counts of assaulting a police officer and a public order offence.

After admitting the offences, magistrates jailed him for 20 weeks and ordered him to pay £115 in compensation.

The sentencing comes just days after a new bill was given Royal Assent which increases sentences for anyone convicted of assault on emergency service workers.

Chris Harvey, district commander for Broadland, welcomed the new law, which comes into force in November.

He said: “This will send out a really clear message that assaults against emergency service workers will not be tolerated and those committing such crimes will receive a significant prison sentence.

“It is a sad fact that assaults against officers are increasing and they are subjected to abhorrent behaviour on an almost daily basis.

“It is completely unacceptable to assault a person who is simply going out to do their job and do their best to serve the community.

“Footage from their body worn cameras alongside the guilty plea meant that the magistrates could apply a swift justice process in getting Ward brought to justice.”

The attack was one of a number of assaults on police over the weekend, which Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation branded as “shocking violence”.

Mr Symonds said he wanted to see Norfolk police equip Tasers to officers who wanted them.

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