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More than 1,200 police officers assaulted in Kent

By Rebecca Tuffin

More than 1,200 Kent police officers were assaulted in the space of a year.

The latest government figures reveal a total of 1,234 officers were punched, kicked, spat on or worse between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

This is nearly 24 assaults a week.

Neil Mennie from Kent Police Federation

A further breakdown of the data shows 1,015 of these physical attacks did not result in injury.

But this leaves 219 cases which did.

Across the whole of England and Wales, there were more than 30,000 assaults on police officers during this period.

The number in Kent has risen since the previous year.

More than 1,200 police officers in Kent were assaulted in a year
More than 1,200 police officers in Kent were assaulted in a year

Between 2017 and 2018, a total of 1,112 constables were subject to violence, including 189 who acquired injuries.

Neil Mennie from Kent Police Federation said: "It is disappointing. Clearly officers don't expect to go to work and be assaulted.

"It should not be expected in any job - let alone the police.

"The assaults officers have to put up with while carrying out their duties vary tremendously but include punching, kicking, biting and spitting and worse.

"When I was a young police officer, there was a tendency to put up with a certain level of assault but this should never have been the case and certainly should not be the case now."

Mr Mennie thinks the rise in assaults since last year could be due to cuts in numbers.

He said: "It is really difficult to understand why we have seen an increase - cuts in officer numbers may be factor.

"It should not be expected in any job - let alone the police..." Neil Mennie

"However, Kent has been fortunate in receiving 200 extra officers, even before new figures being banded about nationally.

"Hopefully this increase in numbers will reduce the number of assaults."

Superintendent Simon Thompson said: "You join the job knowing you are going to face some dangerous situations and violent people, but it doesn't make it right.

"I have known officers who have been put in hospital they are so severely hurt."

Kent Police will roll out a taser scheme later this year, with more than 1,000 extra front-line officers being trained to use the electric weapons.

Mr Thompson hopes this will help to reduce violence against police, alongside growing numbers.
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