More than 160 lockdown assaults on Norfolk police

Norfolk Constabulary's chief superintendent Dave Marshall Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Norfolk Constabulary's chief superintendent Dave Marshall Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

There were more than 160 assaults on police officers in Norfolk during lockdown, with offences including people spitting and coughing in their faces while claiming to have coronavirus.

However, the county has bucked a national trend of seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of officer assaults for the same period in 2019.

Between March 23 and June 23 this year, while the county was in lockdown, there were 161 instances of police officers being assaulted as they went about enforcing the safety measures.

The figure was a 17pc drop on the same period for 2019, during which there were 194 assaults on Norfolk Constabulary officers.

It bucks a national trend, according to figures obtained by the Press Association, which show that on average assaults on police staff were up by 21pc. Of the forces approached, 31 provided details of 7,863 instances recorded over the first three months of lockdown, compared with 6,505 for the same period in 2019.

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Chief Supt Dave Marshall of Norfolk Police said: “Every frontline officer knows there is an element of risk in their roles, however they should never be subjected to violence, broken bones, kicks, scratches, bruises and bites while simply going out to do their job.

“It is abhorrent that officers face being spat at and, at times during lockdown, were assaulted by people who claimed to have Covid-19 and coughed in their faces.

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“There’s no doubt that nationwide restrictions did impact on the night-time economy, reducing the number of people on Norfolk’s streets and therefore the volume of drunk and disorderly people coming into contact with police. That said, 161 assaults in Norfolk is still too many and will not be tolerated at a time when my colleagues and other key workers have been doing their best to protect people and keep them safe.

“We will continue to work towards reducing the amount of physical attacks our officers have to face.”

Suffolk Constabulary did see a slight increase over the two periods. During the three months there were 122 assaults on Suffolk officers, compared with 111 for the equivalent period in 2019.

Norfolk was one of just five constabularies to have seen a decrease of more than 10pc.

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