27th May, 2019

Significant rise in assaults on police

Rob George 1st Dec, 2017

A BRAVE West Mercia Police officer has spoken of the moment he was attacked on duty after shock new figures revealed a 10 per cent rise in assaults on police officers.

PC Jon Townsend revealed his experience as West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion called for local communities to support his ‘Behind the Badge’ campaign.

Behind the Badge focuses on reducing incidents by challenging behaviours and encouraging people to recognise and respect police officers are people outside of the uniform.

Figures from April 2015- September 2017 show 1,427 offences where the victims were on duty personnel.

In the most recent quarter, July to September 2017, there were 184 incidents which is a rise of 10 per cent on the 166 in the previous three months.

On average there are now two assaults on police officers per day across the force area and PC Townsend hopes by speaking out he will make people think again.

The brave PC was still a student officer, having moved from his job as a police community support officer, when he was called to suspicious incident in Kidderminster where a man was seen in a high powered sports car.

As he pulled up behind the car and started doing normal police checks, the driver reversed, ramming the police van.

Jon and his colleague got out of the van then smashed the window of the car to try and gain entry. He came face to face with the driver, who continued to reverse. Jon was trapped against the car as the offender drove him into the side of the police van.

He fell to the floor, injured with a dislocated knee, and the driver then drove at him. Jon managed to roll out of the way with the tyres narrowly missing his head.

The driver was arrested and later jailed for the assault as well as his part in an armed robbery.

“I had to have quite a lot of counselling and therapy as well, but even though it was a very steep learning curve, it’s made me the person I am now. I am proud to still be a police officer, and still be able to work to serve our communities,” he said,

“If nothing else, just remember that I have got a family that I would like to go back to, and a family that I am trying to look after even though I’m working, in terms of having wages and being able to buy things for my little children.

“We are human, just like everybody else, and we have a job to do.”

The most common time for assaults against police to occur is in the early hours of Friday and Saturday mornings, so a particular focus of the campaign will be around the night time economy.

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