Kent is near top of list for attacks on police officers

Pam Mills

Kent Police rank fourth in the number of assaults on constables out of the 44 forces which cover England and Wales.

Only the Metropolitan Police, West Yorkshire and Hampshire forces have higher rates of that offence.

In total, constables at Kent Police self-reported 1,112 assaults during 2017/18, of which 189 resulted in injury. Community Support Officer data is collected separately.

Last year, Kent’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, branded those who attack police officers ‘evil individuals’ and called for tougher punishments, a position he maintains.

The government statistics do not show if any of the officers have been victims of multiple assaults, but if each assault was directed at a separate individual constable at Kent Police, then 33 per cent would have been affected.

There are 3,323 constables currently on the force.By contrast, although officers at the Metropolitan Police reported 3,975 assaults, this amounts to one assault per eight-and-a-half officers. However, a third of the assaults resulted in injury.

It should be noted the report itself warns of a ‘variable’ quality to the data, and states it may not ‘provide a complete picture’.
It adds: “It is known that these data are likely to be an underestimate of the total number of assaults in some forces as many officers view assaults as part of the job and do not bother to raise a crime record.

“A further limitation of the data is that it is not always possible for forces to identify whether the police officer was on or off duty at the time of the assault.”
Chief Superintendent Mat Newton, Head of Learning and Development at Kent Police, said: “Policing can be a dangerous and challenging job, but officers being assaulted must never be seen as being ‘just part of the role’.”

He said the force provides both legal and welfare support to constables who are victims of assault, and an investigation of the incident, which includes reviewing any available body-worn video footage, is overseen by a senior officer.

He added: “Of the 1,112 assaults recorded by the Home Office in 2017/18, 189 resulted in an injury to an officer. However, one assault is one too many regardless of whether an injury is suffered.”

Speaking to the Times, Police & Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “The Chief Constable and I are quite clear on this – being assaulted should never be considered as just part of the job for a police officer.

Assaulting any member of the emergency services is always unacceptable. “I’ve worked closely with Kent Police to help provide officers with the tools they need to keep them safe, including investing in body-worn video cameras and an increase in the number of Taser-trained officers, and I am firmly supportive of spit and blood guards.

“However, more can and should be done. I have actively supported strengthening the law to ensure that longer sentences are given to those who assault any member of the emergency services.”

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