Police boss slams judge for not jailing teen who knocked out officer

Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Jason Bye www.jasonbye.com

Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation. Picture: Jason Bye www.jasonbye.com - Credit: Jason Bye

The chairman of the county’s police federation has hit out at a judge’s decision to allow a teenager who knocked out an officer and then bragged about it to walk free.

On Wednesday, Judge Stephen Holt handed a suspended jail sentence to 19-year-old Calvin Garwe, who in July punched a police officer outside Sugar and Spice on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, knocking them unconscious.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Garwe, of The Ridings, Norwich, had bragged while he was on his way to custody that it was “cool” that he had punch the officer.

However, the teenager avoided jail, with the judge telling him he was being given “one last chance”, before giving him a six-month sentence suspended for two years.

The decision has left Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation feeling “let down”, arguing that it sends the wrong message to others about how serious it is to assault an emergency worker in their line of duty.

He said the case “shows clearly why we have such an issue with year-on-year rises of officers being attacked”.

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He said: “The offender had a list of previous convictions and clearly does not care about the laws of this country which culminated in him knocking out my colleague.”

Alongside his sentence, Garwe was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work, 25 days rehabilitation activity and was disqualified from driving for 18 months in relation to another incident.

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But Mr Symonds said: “This is not a sentence that shows others that if you act violently towards officers that they are likely to face a custodial sentence.

“This is why officers feel let down by the court system time after time.

“I have seen the horrific attacks on my colleagues and the resultant injuries which put at risk their careers as officers.”

Mr Symonds added that he had “lost count” of the number of times officers had been spat at in the face since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and called for offences against offers to carry harsher punishments.

Judge Holt did not wish to comment.

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