A new law doubling the jail term for assaulting police officers will hopefully reduce the level of attacks, Gloucestershire Police Federation, has said.
Recent Home Office figures show that 196 officers suffered an assault in the county last year.
The Protect the Protectors Bill has now gained Royal Assent and Sarah Johnson, Chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said officers are now quite correctly no longer accepting assaults as ‘just part of the job.’
“The Bill becoming law is a start and a huge step forward and hopefully it will have an impact,” she said.
“One assault on an officer is too much,” she added, “and we are fortunate in Gloucestershire that we haven’t had such high levels of significant assaults.
“There’s been a bit of a cultural shift – many officers may have previously seen it as part of the job and would have just got on with it.
“But there’s certainly more awareness around reporting assaults here.”
Body worn video is a useful deterrent in officers’ PPE, she added, and plans are in place to improve access to it for every shift.
“People can see straight away they are being videoed and that is a deterrent in itself,” she said.
“There will be more BWV for Gloucestershire officers although we are not quite there yet.”
In Gloucestershire every assault on an officer is drawn to the attention of senior managers, she said.
“It means there is more awareness. Stories about there being some gaps in terms of following our seven-point plan whereby individuals don’t take their own statements, they are given somebody to look after them, they don’t have to deal with the perpetrator and all of those things are few and far between, so things are definitely improving.
“The most important thing is for our colleagues and members to actually record and not let things slip.
“Unless we have the true facts and statistics we can’t work with them and say, ‘Actually this is not right. You might accept it but you shouldn’t expect your colleagues to accept it’.”