Police attacks increased during pandemic

Attacks on officers in the Northumbria Police area have risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 12:40 pm
Pandemic police attacks

Home Office data shows 205 attacks on police officers were recorded by the force between April 2020 and March 2021 – a significant increase from the 121 reported the previous year.

All the recorded attacks in 2020-21 resulted in an injury.

The number of assaults across England and Wales has been described as "disgusting" by the Police Federation, which says many offences involved spitting and coughing during a time of fear over the spread of Covid-19.

The figures reflect a jump in such attacks nationally, where recorded assaults on officers increased by 14% during the pandemic – around 37,000.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said the data showed the "disgusting level of violence" faced by officers working throughout the pandemic.

He said: "More than 100 of my colleagues are assaulted every single day – that’s a staggering number and something society must not accept.

"Many of these recorded attacks involve vile individuals who have spat on or coughed at police officers, weaponising the virus and threatening to spread it to them and their families."

Mr Apter added: "This unjustified violence is a stain on society and needs to be dealt with robustly.”

The Home Office said it had provided funding to police forces for more than 7,000 Taser devices to help protect officers.

A spokesperson added: "Anyone who commits these despicable assaults should expect to face the full force of the law."