A police officer is assaulted on average every 68 hours in Wiltshire, figures have revealed.
In the line of duty, 129 local officers were attacked between September 2019 and August 2020, a concerning increase of 25 percent on figures for 2017/18.
Wiltshire Police says it is already following “most” of the key recommendations contained in a national Officer and Staff Safety Review which was published today.
The review was commissioned in response to concerns about rising assaults and violence directed towards police officers, examines existing arrangements for the safety of police officers and staff in England and Wales.
The force is already in line with key recommendations including adopting a robust approach to assaults on staff and officers, ensuring that officers have appropriate protective equipment and that body armour is regularly maintained.
It is also leading the way in terms of implementing further recommendations such as ensuring officers have specialist first aid equipment and appropriate high viz clothing.
The report was commissioned by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) last September to create a set of recommendations designed to reduce risk to police officers and staff of being assaulted or killed in the line of duty.
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “As we continue to respond to the global COVID pandemic the safety of our officers, staff and special constables and ensuring that they have the right kit and equipment, has never been so significant.
“It is of paramount importance that our frontline teams have the right protection, training and tools to enable them to protect the public in the safest way possible.
“Sadly, we are not immune to violent assaults on our employees here in Wiltshire – the number of assaults on officers and staff has been increasing steadily over the last few years and continues to rise.
“Even during the COVID pandemic, officers and staff have been spat at, kicked and assaulted as they simply try to keep our communities safe during what is a hugely challenging and unsettling time for all.
“Let me be absolutely clear – I will not tolerate an assault of any kind on any member of Wiltshire Police.
“We’ve already introduced a large number of improvements to best protect our staff including the introduction of spit and bite guards, increased the number of officers who carry taser and I also provide a personal statement every time someone appears in court charged with assaulting one of my officers.
“I welcome the recommendations of this review which underlines the importance of taking a robust and consistent approach towards protecting our police officers and staff.
“I’m pleased to say that we are already in line with most of the key recommendations contained in the report.”
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