Officer safety proposals must be implemented

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne has welcomed the findings of a review into the rise of assaults on police officers.

Now Steve has called for the recommendations to be implemented and for members to be given the best available training and equipment in order to protect them and the public.

Last year there were 30,679 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, or 84 a day, which led to the comprehensive Officer and Staff Safety Review being commissioned by National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chair Martin Hewitt.

The review, conducted in partnership with the College of Policing, has made 28 recommendations to better protect officers following the review.

Steve said: “Despite the Federation’s successful campaign to increase sentences for those who attack police officers, we’re still seeing a shocking increase in assaults. We are appalled at the levels of violence our officers are subjected to daily. All stops must be pulled out to reverse this wholly unacceptable situation as our officers deserve nothing less. We now look towards our police leaders to be unrelenting in their approach to officer safety, by implementing all necessary measures identified within the report, to safeguard their officers as much as possible against this sickening rise in violence.

“Let’s be clear that any assault on a police officer must not be tolerated, and offenders must feel the full weight of the criminal justice system to send out that message. It’s vital front-line teams receive the right training and equipment to be able to serve the public safely.

“This review must not be ignored and forgotten. It’s important the recommendations are implemented so that our members have the best support, training and equipment to carry out their unique roles,” he added.

More than 40,000 voices were canvassed for the wide-ranging Officer and Staff Safety Review, including many front-line officers.

Recommendations include training for roads policing officers, improved equipment and further research on the link between shift work and safe driving practices with the review having identified the high number of officer deaths as they travelled to and from work.

The national Federation has welcomed the report’s recommendations but vice-chair Ché Donald said it must not just become another doorstop and be forgotten in a year’s time.

He explained: “There are many good points raised in this review, with much good work already in play. However, chief officers must now take swift action to implement?all immediately, so they are meaningful, make a tangible difference and are directly felt by officers on the ground.”

And he added: “Along with the majority of the public, the Federation is appalled by the atrocious levels of violence colleagues have faced recently and has been demanding action. That’s why we welcomed this review and want to see its finding make a real difference.

“All too often my colleagues are not treated as victims when they are assaulted, leaving them feeling failed by supervisors and the criminal justice system, as they have made clear in this officer and staff survey.

“It is only right officers have the very best equipment, training and support for the dangerous job they do; we made this crystal clear in PFEW’s evidence to the review.”

The recommendations include a review of equipment, the overhaul of safety training, and a new College of Policing led national curriculum so every officer receives the same standard of tuition.

In addition, the findings contain a commitment to officers and staff about the minimum standard of support and communication they would receive should they suffer an assault, and a pledge to consider further rolling out ‘Operation Hampshire’ - the seven-point plan to reduce assaults started locally in his home force by John Apter who is now national Federation chair.