In Sussex, the number of attacks on rescue workers

SUSSEX Police said they will “not tolerate” violence against their officers as new figures showed attacks on rescue workers in the county are on the rise.

Home Office figures show Sussex Police recorded 1,384 attacks on rescue workers in the year to March.

Most of the alleged victims were police officers – last year there were 1,035 attacks on PCs with no injuries and 287 with injuries, while there were 62 on other officers.

The total recorded last year increased from 1,283 in 2020-21, when assaults on non-police rescue workers were recorded for the first time.

A Sussex Police spokesman said attacks on rescue workers were “unacceptable” and the force was “looking at ways” to reduce attacks.

“Being attacked is a risk that police officers and frontline workers who work for the police and other emergency services now face every day while carrying out their duties of helping and protecting the public,” he said .

“These attacks on duty – the most likely way our officers are injured – have increased over the years and are unacceptable.

“Our Health and Safety team has collected and analyzed four years of data to gain a detailed understanding of how and where assaults occur and who is being attacked.

“We are using this information, which we have received from officers and staff, to launch a special work involving the local police federation, Unison, officer safety trainers and teams responsible for police and staff personal protective equipment .

“We are looking at ways to reduce assaults and their severity, as well as ways we can support colleagues when they have been assaulted.

“We will not tolerate the use of force against our officers and staff and we will take positive action should this occur.”

In the two countries, 44,600 assaults by emergency services were registered in 2021/22 – an increase of 10 percent compared to the 40,400 in the previous year.

Since the Assault on Rescue Workers Act came into force in 2018, the maximum penalty for ordinary assaults on rescue workers is 12 months.

The offense applies to attacks on “blue light” workers such as police, paramedics and firefighters, as well as many others including prison officers, NHS staff and St John Ambulance volunteers.

The Police Association said the surge in attacks on rescue workers was “appalling” and should not be tolerated or seen as just part of the job.

Steve Hartshorn, the organization’s national chair, called the rise in crime nationwide an “eyesore on society”.

“Crime rates rose when Covid restrictions were lifted and a split-second act of violence, whether an injury was sustained or not, often leaves a devastating and long-lasting impact on police officers,” he said.

“The physical and psychological scars from these attacks can last a lifetime and are unacceptable.

“Attacks on emergency workers are a blot on society and many of those attacks that are recorded with no injuries would have been vile spitting and coughing.”

He said it is important that judges and prosecutors make full use of the new law to ensure the sentence passed reflects the seriousness and gravity of the crime.

Separate figures show that the percentage of indicted offenders nationwide has fallen from 68 percent to just 62 percent in 2021-22.

In Sussex last year, 1,333 personal injury investigations were completed by emergency workers, with 59 per cent resulting in an indictment or subpoena – up from 63 per cent in 2020-21.

PTSD 999, a support organization for all emergency services, said tougher punishment for offenders would protect both the public and those who are targeted.

Gary Hayes, co-founder of the group, said: “Attacks on rescue workers can be traumatising, but not necessarily at the time of the event; the impact on the individual can be felt days, weeks, months or years later.

“There is no timescale for how and when someone will deal with an attack.”

A government spokesman said: “Attacks on members of our emergency services are unacceptable, which is why this government has doubled the maximum penalty for attacking an emergency responder.” In Sussex, the number of attacks on rescue workers

Fry Electronics Team

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