Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey condemns 'disgraceful' attacks on police officers
PUBLISHED: 21:53 04 March 2018
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015
Norfolk's chief constable has condemned increases in "disgraceful" violent attacks being suffered by his officers - and has today called on the public to look beyond the uniform.
There have been growing calls for tougher sentences for those convicted of attacking emergency workers ahead of a new law coming before the House of Commons in April.
It comes following a recent spate of attacks on officers, with six police officers assaulted in a single night in Norfolk last month.
One of them was a female officer who was pushed over and kicked in the stomach as she patrolled Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road.
Police chiefs in Norfolk are supportive of moves to try to increase penalties for those who assault frontline staff in a bid to protect the protectors.
Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey said: “Every day my officers go out to serve and protect our communities and it’s disgraceful that they should be victims of violent assaults including spitting, biting, punching, head butting or kicking slot of it underpinned by the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
“Every week I see officers being victims of assaults and recently I’ve had to say goodbye to an officer who has taken early retirement because they’ve been subjected to one particularly horrific assault and they no longer feel they can come in and face that.
“That’s a loss to the constabulary and a loss to the communities of Norfolk.
“My greatest frustration is that unfortunately there are a small minority in our community who don’t look beyond a uniform and don’t see the human being wearing that uniform.”
Mr Bailey said that while he did his best to ensure officers had the right equipment and training to be able to protect themselves, he also insisted the public had a role to play too.
He said: “When we were dealing with a violent incident on Prince of Wales Road not that long ago, we were videoed by members of the public who were quite happy to stand by and watch me and my colleague deal with a very nasty situation.
“I would like to think members of the public in seeing a police officer in difficult would go and help rather than get out their mobile phones and video.
“We’re there to protect you but on occasions you can help us.”
Mr Bailey also wants to see the licensing laws looked at to see if pubs or clubs really need to stay open until 5am.
Mr Bailey’s comments come as three police officers were assaulted in King’s Lynn over the weekend, including two who were kicked in the head and face.
Meanwhile last month six police officers were attacked in a single night in Norfolk and over the festive period 17 police officers were assaulted in the county.
Figures for April 1 2016 to March 31 2017 show more than 390 officers were assaulted in Norfolk during the period – more than one officer every single day.
David Dunbar was last month jailed for a total of four years after he broke the fingers of a police officer who had tried to arrest him in Great Yarmouth.
Dunbar, 30, had been wanted on recall to prison and Pc Ben Hardiman had been one of the officers sent to arrest him.
After being caught, Dunbar asked if he could return home to pick up some things and say goodbye to his partner.
Pc Hardiman agreed but after removing Dunbar’s handcuffs was pushed by the defendant as he tried to escape.
The Pc was punched repeatedly in a “windmilling” action which connected with Pc Hardiman’s hand and resulted in two fingers being fractured.
Pc Hardiman suffered “significant pain” and was unable to do things like tying shoe laces for more than a week following the incident on January 9 this year.
Dunbar, of no fixed address, was jailed after he previously admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault with intention to resist and escaping lawful custody.
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said those guilty of attacking police officers and ambulance crews should get sentences of up to five years. He has described attacks on emergency staff as “abhorrent”.