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Standing together against assaults on police officers and staff

February 28, 2017
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Nottinghamshire Police officers and staff signed pledge to say being assaulted is not part of the day job on Tuesday.

Nottinghamshire Police joined officer and staff representatives from the UNISON, GMB unions and the Nottinghamshire Police Federation to sign a seven-point pledge to say being assaulted is not part of the day job at Force Headquarters on Tuesday.

By signing the pledge, new Chief Constable Craig Guildford has committed the Force to thoroughly investigate and record all assaults to officers and staff – and ensure that those victims receive the right levels of support.

Recorded statistics show that in Nottinghamshire in 2015/16, 160 officers and front-line staff were assaulted. 22 officers and detention officers were also assaulted within the custody environment in the same period.

163 officers and front-line officers and staff were assaulted in 2014/15 with 19 officers and staff assaulted in custody. There were 161 reported assaults in 2013/14 and 14 assaults in custody and 138 assaults in 2012/13 with nine assaults in custody.

Projected stats for 2016-17 (based on data till the end of Jan 2017) indicate there will be 118 assaults to divisional staff and 10 assaults to custody staff. Projected stats have been annualised by taking average figures to form a yearly figure and may go up or down.

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “No-one should have ever have to be the victim of unlawful violence in any walk of life and my officers and staff are no different.

“Our officers and staff will be supported throughout and should be treated the same way as any other victim of crime. One assault on a Police Officer, PCSO, Special Constable or member of Police Staff is one too many. We must be clear though, an assault of any kind should never be considered ‘part of the job’.

“Every day our officers and staff risk their lives to serve and protect the public and it’s important we support every single one of them. I am very proud and humbled by the hard work our dedicated officers and staff do under some very challenging situations.

“Working on the front-line of any police force often involves difficult and dangerous situations whereby ‘public’ always comes before ‘self’.  

“Any assault on our officers and staff has a huge knock-on effect not just for the communities we serve, but also to our officers and staff and the people closest to them who live with the physical and mental impact of being a victim of these offences. From personal experience such events are never pleasant and as Chief Constable I thoroughly support this joint pledge.”

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, wholeheartedly supports the pledge, saying: “Just this week we saw the courage of Nottinghamshire’s officers when they rushed to save the life of a man in the river. Acts like this should never be taken for granted.

“Police officers and staff regularly put thoughts of their own safety to one side to ensure the safety of members of the public and it is outrageous that all too often they are on the receiving end of physical and verbal abuse.

“This should never be considered just part of the job. We need to send a clear message to those who assault officers and staff that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and action will be taken.”

Case study: PC Tom Andrews

PC Tom Andrews was patrolling on his own in the Canning Circus area in Nottingham in Saturday 24 October 2015 when he was attacked.

He was choked around the throat by a man he had been dealing with who had previously been co-operative and shown no signs of aggression.

Thankfully he was helped by a passing member of the public, who jumped off his bike.

PC Andrews said: “This demonstrates what a difficult and dangerous job it can be to be a police officer, especially in these times of austerity when officers are more often than not patrolling single crewed.

“Watching the footage back from the body worn camera, it shows how quickly a situation can escalate, even when you think it is under control.

“Following the incident I was contacted by numerous colleagues, both officers and control room staff, making sure I was OK, and the following day when I came in to work I was also contacted by a senior officer enquiring about my welfare. It really shows that as the police we are one big blue family and all look out for one-another.”

Case study: PCSO Antonio Ciacci

Meanwhile PCSO Antonio Ciacci had to use his own police bike to defend himself after concrete slabs were thrown at him whilst on duty in Retford in January 2017. He was left with a five to six inch cut on his left thigh, a three inch cut to his left forearm and bruises.

The man pleaded guilty to assault and affray at Mansfield Magistrates' Court and was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay £115 compensation.

PCSO Ciacci said: “You don't think about it at the time but after watching it on CCTV afterwards it makes it more real. God knows what would have happened if I hadn't had my bike. And luckily it was all captured on CCTV and several witnesses came forward.

“The support I've had from family, friends and the police has been fantastic. And the amount of people who have come up to me in the street and asked if I'm alright has been great.”

A united front against assaults on police officers and staff

Nottinghamshire Police Federation

Dave Keen, Chair of the Nottinghamshire Police Federation, said: “Being a police officer is undoubtedly one of the toughest jobs around.

“The Force recently backed the 'Believe in Blue' campaign and the general public, both locally and nationally, responded brilliantly to it.

“The campaign highlighted the strength and resilience of our Force, promoting the many acts of heroism by our officers.

“By signing the pledge, we hope it will help raise awareness and ensure officers get the recognition they deserve for their hard work, as well as ensuring the right support network is in-place should they ever become victims themselves .”

“We hope by signing this pledge, it will demonstrate to our members that we care about their welfare and we need to protect them.”

UNISON

UNISON’s Chris Berry said: “Protecting our members against assaults and campaigning to ensure officers and staff are fully supported is one of our main priorities. By signing this pledge, we want every reported incident to have thorough investigation carried out and the Force to pursue prosecution where appropriate.

“It’s important that the victim’s line managers and senior managers are also informed and that they are aware that extra support can be given.”

GMB

GMB Alan Woodward said: “Police Officers and Police Support Staff walk into dangerous situations every day, where others walk away crucially they deal with the most difficult situations, but prioritise protecting even those who are violent and aggressive towards them.

"This is obviously part of their role and duty, but assaults are not acceptable in any degree and GMB will always do its upmost to protect Police Support Staff and Police Officers from assault whilst they continue to provide this essential service for the community.

“This new campaign will also offer guidance to line managers to help support our staff.”

101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.

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