27 Aug 27th August 2019
Assaults on police officers in Scotland have hit a five-year high with more than 1,600 attacked in just three months.
Police Scotland have reported a 10 percent increase in the number of assaults on cops between April and June compared to the same period last year.
A total of 1,498 attacks on officers were recorded last year but this rose to 1649 in the first quarter of 2019.
The latest figures also showed a massive increase in the number of violent attacks in the west command area of Scotland with a rise of 22.1 percent.
A total of 845 assaults were recorded during the three month period last year but this rose to 1032 this year.
Almost half of the attacks from the west took place in the Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow police divisions.
Saturdays were found to be the peak day for assaults, particularly between 8pm and 1am.
While the number of police assaults recorded fell for the north and east area, by 12.6 and 1.2 percent respectively, the overall figures for attacks on cops still showed a significant rise.
The figures also showed that assaults on Scottish emergency workers continue to increase and have gone up by 8.7 percent to 1929 this year.
A report detailing the latest figures will be presented at a board meeting of the Scottish Police Authority on Wednesday.
Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said that officers were regularly being targeted by armed individuals.
He said: “These figures simply tell us what police officers have known for some time – that is that instances and levels of violence they face is increasing and doing so exponentially.
“As more police officers are assaulted, the levels of the injuries they sustain are also increasing in severity.
“Encountering criminals with knives and other weapons is a daily occurrence and yet politicians continue to make cheap political points over officers’ safety equipment while our colleagues get maimed and injured with increasing regularity.”
Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “Our officers find themselves dealing with dangerous situations on a daily basis to protect the people and communities we serve and are trained to a high level to deal with violent and confrontational situations.
“But being assaulted is not simply part of the job.
“No assault on a police officer can ever be tolerated and Police Scotland has a legal and a moral duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our people.
“Each assault will be investigated with the same care, compassion and commitment as an assault on a member of the public and the best evidence secured to support prosecution.
“We are considering new ways, including taking learning from elsewhere in the UK, to ensure we provide the best support to our people.” … See MoreSee Less
Thames Valley Police pay tribute to PC Andrew Harper as they hold a minutes silence in his memory
More than 100 officers and staff fell silent at the Thames Valley Police training centre in Sulhamstead, where flowers had been laid in the grounds.
PC Harper’s family and friends stood in remembrance, placing a sunflower and a bouquet among the tributes. A police officer blew a whistle to mark the start of the silence.
Chief Constable John Campbell said the occasion was “not a memorial service”, but a “time for gathering, a time for pause and a time to reflect”.
He called PC Harper, who grew up in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, a “dearly loved and respected colleague, friend and proud police officer”.
Force chaplain Helen Arnold led the remembrance service, praying for “family and close friends, for whom Andrew’s death left such emptiness”.
“This police family to which he belonged will not forget him,” she said.
PC Harper’s mother Debbie said she was moved by the “outpouring of love” since her son’s death.
“We are devastated and bereft but as Andrew always lived, with dignity, honour and calmness we intend to grieve in this way,” she said.
“A big part of me has gone with you, I cannot imagine our lives going forward but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts.”
Forces across the country also joined Thames Valley police in observing the silence which took place at 11:00am.
Pictures from Thames Valley Police … See MoreSee Less
Police numbers in Scotland face a cut of over 700 officers.
Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable, Will Kerr, said its budget was “incompatible” with maintaining officer numbers at the present level.
DCC Kerr said the cut of around 4% in officer numbers would come into effect as the force prepares for what it calls an “exceptional” operational environment, including responding to a potential no-deal Brexit and the possibility of civil unrest.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, DCC Kerr said: “Next year is going to provide a bit of a challenge for us. Operationally we’re going to be very busy, but we have a growing fiscal deficit at Police Scotland. And those two things don’t give us a sustainable financial base – they are incompatible.”
He added: “The repercussions are fairly obvious – they will obviously significantly cut our operational resilience and capacity.”
Kerr explained: “Police Scotland currently has over 17,200 warranted police officers. We know we’ll need the capacity and the resilience that gives us to be able to manage these what is going to be quite an exceptional operational environment, starting with Brexit and leading right up to what potentially could be the UN climate conference in Glasgow in November in 2020.
“We know we need a strong resilient force. We don’t need any more police officers. But, as the Chief Constable pointed out this morning to the Scottish Police Authority, our budgetary provision for next year only allows us to afford just under 16,500 police officers. Those two things are not compatible.
“It’s a cut of over 700 police officers potentially… But we do have support from the Scottish Government this year to meet that deficit when it comes to some of those Brexit responsibilities. So we have a commitment – and very welcome commitment – from the Scottish Government, additional funding up to £17m to support us to retain the 400 officers we need this year to manage some of the consequences of Brexit.”
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