New police figures reveal assaults on emergency service workers have risen by 24 per cent in the four weeks to June 7th, primarily driven by a surge in COVID-19 spitting and coughing attacks and the recent protests in London and other cities.

It’s prompted Home Secretary Priti Patel to pledge a crackdown on thugs who assault police officers and other emergency service workers.  

She wants to see people who carry out assaults receive up to two years in prison for the crime, to ‘make these thugs think twice’.

It’s a move which has the full backing of Staffordshire Police Federation Chairman, Phil Jones.

“Any assault on Police Officers is unacceptable,” he said, “A rise of 24% in four weeks is shocking - words fail me.  No person should be spat at, coughed on or subject to the disgusting assaults we have seen, never mind police officers. 

“We have seen improvements in sentencing for assaults on emergency service workers, however, these don’t go far enough.  I welcome a review by the Justice Secretary into sentencing, and the suggestion that the sentence could be doubled is encouraging.”

 Police officers have been resilient throughout the pandemic, Phil added, the least they deserve is to be better protected against violent assaults.

 “Police Officers are human and part of the community they serve,” he said. “They go out and perform their duties to protect the public, no better example than just recently when an officer has run towards danger and challenged an offender to protect the public.

“Policing is extremely demanding and challenging.  It is only right that my colleagues feel protected and that offenders who choose to assault them will be dealt with robustly with the full weight of the law. 

 “The last few months in policing has been unprecedented; however, we continue to be resilient and offer the best service to the public.  The public must play their part too, in supporting all emergency service colleagues, to keep each other safe.”

 Ms Patel told The Telegraph that the violence being inflicted on officers over the past few months was ‘senseless and incredibly alarming’.

“An attack on one of our brave officers is an attack on us all,” she said.

 “I have always been clear that anyone who assaults the people who run towards danger to keep the rest of us safe should expect to face the full force of the law. 

 “Last week, I spoke to officers who had been attacked in the line of duty to hear at first hand the devastating impact on them and their loved ones. Their accounts have only strengthened my resolve to step up the support for our police. 

 “The Justice Secretary and I are determined to get justice for emergency service workers who are assaulted while on the job, so in the next few weeks we will launch a consultation on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker to make these thugs think twice.”