The Trade Union representing police officers has published a new report which details the welfare of their members. In particular, the report details the accident at work and violence at work experienced by the police. The authors of the report drew their information from a survey of nearly 17,000 police officers, from 43 police forces. Further information about violence at work is also available by way of Freedom of Information requests.
The Assaults at Work on Police Officers Statistics
The figures in relation to assaults at work was as follows:
- An astonishing 68% of those surveyed reported to having been the recipient of an unarmed physical attack in the preceding 12 months. This included when a suspect struggled to get free, wrestled, hit, kicked etc, the officer.
- A staggering 35% of those surveyed reported that unarmed physical assaults happened at least once per month.
- 36% of the police officers reported to having been attacked with a weapon such as a stick, bottle, axe, firearm at least once in the last year, with 6% reporting that this happened on a monthly basis.
- 20% had sustained one or more injuries requiring medical attention as a consequence of work-related attacks in the previous year, resulting in at least.
- Due to violence at work, there was 6,692 days of sickness absence or relief from normal duties.
- 29% of injuries caused by an assault at work resulted in the police officer suffering from strains or sprains.
- 21% of injuries caused by violence was deemed to have caused superficial injuries.
- In terms of accidents at work, 29% of those surveyed reported suffering from one or more injuries, requiring medical attention, as a consequence of work-related accidents in the previous year.
Overall, the Police’s Trade Union estimates that there was more than two million unarmed physical assaults on police officers over 12 months, with 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon during the same period. The Trade Union concludes that there is an assault at work on a police officer every four minutes, which is a breath-taking frequency of attacks on the police.
New Law to Protect Emergency Workers from Violence at Work
Thankfully, the plight of the emergency services personnel being attacked at work has become a political issue. Attacks on emergency workers will face tougher sentences under a new law which has been given government backing.
The Labour MP, Chris Bryant, has put forward a private member’s bill with the aim of doubling the maximum sentence for common assault against an emergency worker to one year sentence, from only 6 months. The government has supported the bill, with the policing minister stating that violence meted out on emergency service workers was “intolerable”. The finer details of the bill are to be produced in due course.
The new legislation will, in due course, cover attacks on prison officers, police officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services and some healthcare workers including ambulance staff.
Chris Bryant MP, said: “They are spat at, punched, attacked or even stabbed whilst they are trying to save other people’s lives. We have all seen the horrific images on TV. But the shocking fact is that such appalling acts of violence attract no harsher penalty than an attack on an ordinary member of the public – and often no prosecution is brought.”
Under the forthcoming new laws, judges will be asked to consider that the identity of the victim as being an emergency worker is as an aggravating factor in the offence. And given the dangers posed to emergency workers of being bitten and spat at, with the risk of HIV and other similar-type infections being transmitted, the new law will provide the power to take blood samples from people with their consent. Given that most such assailants are unlikely to voluntarily provide a blood test – in order to cause emergency services workers maximum distress – the new law will create a new offence of failing to provide this blood sample without good cause. It is likely that such an offence will become well-known.
The History of the Violence at Work Private Member’s Bill
Mr Bryant MP topped a ballot of MPs seeking to introduce a private member’s bill. Mr Bryant, a Labour MP, asked voters across as well and his own constituency to choose their a bill from a shortlist of six. The violence against emergency services personnel came top.
If you have been assaulted at work, and you feel that the injury to you could have been avoided by something that your employer could have done – such as by training you better, providing more staff, producing better risk assessments, and/or providing suitable protective equipment or alarms – then you may have a viable claim for assaulted at work compensation. Please arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our dedicated violence at work solicitors.