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Alarming rise in police assaults

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By Euan Maxwell
Front
Alarming rise in police assaults

A POLICE chief has warned that a rise in assaults on officers serving across the region shows a “concerning trend”.

It comes after nine officers were subjected to physical abuse over the course of just one weekend this month.

Whilst carrying out duties, they were “punched, kicked and spat at” — and in the majority of these cases officers sustained injuries as a result.

None of the incidents were related to each other and took place between August 13 and 15.

Commenting, Dumfries and Galloway Police Division’s chief superintendent, Carol McGuire, said: “Officers and staff work with dedication and commitment to helping people and violence and abuse against them is not simply part of the job.”

She stressed that incidents such as the ones highlighted by the force cause police officers “physical and psychological harm”.

And she added: “Tackling this concerning trend of increasing assaults is a priority for Police Scotland.

“Arrests have been made in connection with the incidents and the officers who were assaulted are being supported. Additional officers will be deployed at key locations across Dumfries and Galloway this weekend.”

Chair of the Scottish Police Federation’s West Area Committee, Lorna Hogarth, said: “The levels of assaults on police officers are far too high whilst the number of cases against those who carry out these assaults proceeding to court are too few.

“Of those that do, too many of these charges are plea bargained away or dropped resulting in sentences which contain no punitive element and therefore do not act as a deterrent.

“Despite receiving backing from the Lord Advocate and the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, the Chief Constable’s Assault Pledge does not appear to have the support of the wider criminal justice system.”

Meanwhile, many people living in the region reacted furiously at the shock figures, with some calling for tougher penalties on those who assault officers.

Scott Philp said those found guilty of the offence should receive an “instant jail sentence”.

Craig West asked: “Are they all wearing cameras yet?”, adding: “If so it’ll be recorded and the suitable punishment handed out.”

Furthermore, Colin Ridgley called it “shocking behaviour” and said: “Nobody should be attacked for doing a job helping and protecting the public.”

And Shiona Burns wrote: “People nowadays seem to think it’s ok to assault police and NHS workers. They know they can get away with it with slap on wrist if that. Penalties need to change now.”

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