Tougher sentences needed for officer assaults

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne says an assault on a frontline worker is “an attack on us all”.

Steve said that tough sentences help send the message they’re not acceptable but need to be enforced by the courts.

“Our members are mums and dads, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and an assault on them in unacceptable. When one is attacked it’s an attack on us all,” he explained.

“The human toll of an assault on an officer can be huge. Statistics don’t show the impact they have on individual officers, their families and their colleagues.

“The Police Federation has campaigned for tougher sentences for those who do assault police officers and we need the support of the courts to send the message that you will go to prison if you do.”

Steve’s comments follow the publication of a report by the charity Transform Justice ‘Protect the protectors? Do criminal sanctions reduce violence against police and NHS staff?’.

The report states it takes a closer, evidence-based look at increased penalties for assaults against emergency workers and demonstrates the ineffectiveness of this approach on any level.

Steve Hartshorn, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, took part in a panel discussion to coincide with the report’s launch which asked: ‘Will harsher sanctions reduce assaults on police and NHS workers?’

Asked of his personal experience of officers being assaulted when on duty, Steve said: “I have been assaulted countless times and, to go back to when I first started as a new officer in 1995, there was an ethos then that it was part of the job.

“It was in the early 2000s I think and, there was a court case where a judge basically reaffirmed that it was part the job to get assaulted but it never felt right because everyone has a right to go to work and to be treated properly. We accept that at times policing can be a contact sport, certainly if you are a frontline officer dealing with the public.

“It’s the minority of the public that cause these assaults on officers and it does leave lasting effects on police officers.”