Lincolnshire Police launch new strategy to tackle issue of attacks on officers and other staff

A new policy to tackle attacks and other crimes against police officers or staff and support those who fall victim to them is being launched by Lincolnshire Police in partnership with the Police Federation.

ACO White

With figures showing more than 400 assaults on those working for the force every year, it has now pledged to put the employee at the centre of any investigation.

And a force chief has stressed that such attacks should not be dismissed as ‘just part of the job’ – and anyone injured on duty will get full support and an enhanced welfare and care package.

The new policy follows recent figures showing that there are more than 400 assaults on officers and staff each year in Lincolnshire, with kicking, spitting and biting among the most frequent types of attack.

One of the most recent and serious examples saw a Detective Constable sustain a fractured skull when she was hit by a car in Grantham.

A spokesperson for the force says it has also seen a number of incidents of coughing and spitting at our officers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

One of the first such incidents saw a Fosdyke man jailed after he threatened to breathe on a police officer in April after saying he had coronavirus.

The force says it has, in partnership with the Police Federation now developed what it describes as a robust process to investigate all crimes against our officers and staff, combined with an enhanced welfare package to support those affected.

A spokesperson said: “We will put the employee at the centre of the investigation, treating them as a victim of crime and continuing to thoroughly investigate offences including physical assaults, sexual assaults, racial abuse or hate crime.

“They will also be given a full care package starting directly after the incident, through their recovery, and up to and sometimes beyond any court case. We are looking at increasing our support to officers including the paying of compensation directly to officers, and opportunities for counselling, training or medical support. “

“Any attack on a police officer is not simply an assault, it’s an attack on the rule of law,” said Assistant Chief Officer, Andrew White.

“Assaults should never be accepted as simply ‘a part of the job’. And while being a police officer is about sometimes putting yourself at risk of harm to keep the public safe, anyone who is assaulted while on duty can be assured of the full support of the Force at every stage.

“We’re also improving how we investigate assaults, while also working closely with the CPS to press for an increased number of successful prosecutions.

“The vast majority of the Lincolnshire public support their police and recognise the bravery of our officers. The very small minority that believe that they may impede, assault and injure officers will be arrested and investigated with a view to prosecution. Police officers deserve our thanks for the risks they take on a daily basis.”

For more than a year, senior leaders have worked with the Lincolnshire Police Federation to introduce the new policy, which also aims to look at the scale and number of officer assaults.

Inspector Barry Steele, of the Lincolnshire Police Federation, said: “This is something that we have been lobbying very hard for, for the last 18 months.

“We conducted a Taser survey within Force last year, which suggested that 57 per cent of our members felt that their life had been in danger at some point in the preceding two years.

“If you go from the last Bank Holiday to now, we are aware of 56 assaults on officers which have included a fractured skull; fractured ribs; a fractured leg; officers being bombarded with bottles; and officers being rammed in a car. It does not make for good reading.

“So we are pleased that our lobbying has resulted in this project being launched.”

Analysis led by Sgt Lee Johnson, who completed a PhD in the subject, will support national work around understanding and preventing assaults, maintaining and adding to the national conversations and looking at collaborations between police forces.