Rise in Norfolk officer attacks triggers call for wider roll out of Tasers

A Police officer armed with a TASER.

A Police officer armed with a TASER. - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

A call has been made for the wider roll out of Tasers after figures revealed the number of attacks on police officers in Norfolk is on the rise.

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

Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. Picture Andy Symonds - Credit: Archant

Home Office data shows that 143 assaults resulting in officer injuries were recorded by Norfolk Constabulary in 2018-19, compared to 136 during the previous year.

The data was published for the first time in 2017-18, when "assault with injury on a constable" became a new category of crime.

Norfolk also recorded 439 assaults without injury on officers in 2018-19, up from 382 the previous year.

Andy Symonds, chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation which represents rank and file officers across the county, said: "Unfortunately we have experienced an increase in the level of violence shown towards officers; recently we have had officers suffer broken fingers, shoulders, arms and noses, fractured cheek bones, severe swelling and bruising to the head/face and various parts of the body in attacks. These attacks leave their marks physically and mentally.

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"Our officers are not robots; they are human beings who wear a uniform with pride to protect the vulnerable, keep people safe and in doing so put their own safety and mental wellbeing at risk. They are also someone's sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers."

Mr Symonds said the increase in attacks has led to the Federation calling on all police chiefs to give Tasers to all front line officers.

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He said: "Rightly, our chief constable has pledged to deliver this to Norfolk officers by 2021. These Tasers offer protection for officers when they come under attack which is sadly commonplace. They also help protect the community we serve from extremely violent people that we have to deal with."

Last year, a new law was introduced to raise the maximum sentence for assault against emergency workers from six to 12 months.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Being attacked should never be part of the job for our courageous police officers, who put themselves in harm's way to protect us.

"We are working with forces to recruit 20,000 more police officers over the next three years, and are committed to ensuring they have the resources, tools and powers they need to keep themselves and the public safe."

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