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Figures reveal increase in attacks on police officers during COVID-19 outbreak

Assaults on police officers have risen by more than 25 per cent during the coronavirus outbreak, according to figures released by Thames Valley Police.

The force said today that between March and April this year there were 198 recorded assaults on officers, 50 of which involved an officer being spat at, coughed at or bitten.

This compared to 158 recorded assaults on officers in the region in the same period last year.

Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police John Campbell, said: “We are hugely grateful and thankful to the overwhelming majority of the Thames Valley public who have been complying with the new Coronavirus legislation and helping to save lives and being hugely generous and respectful of our officers.

“However these figures show that a minority think it acceptable to assault our officers.

“To spit, cough or bite an officer or emergency service worker is despicable at any time but in the current situation with Coronavirus it is even more deplorable.”

Mr Campbell said the force will not tolerate attacks on any of its officers or other emergency service workers and will work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring offenders to justice.

He added: “The welfare of our officers and staff is vitally important, anyone who has been subjected to being bitten, spat or coughed at, or if they have been assaulted in another way, is being supported by the force with a comprehensive welfare support plan.”

Craig O’Leary, chairman of Thames Valley Police Federation said: “Every police officer has a right to go about their duty without fear of assault.

“I echo the chief constable’s words and thank the vast majority of the public of Thames Valley for supporting our officers in the work they do during these difficult times.

“But the assaults on our members and indeed any other emergency service worker are appalling and those that choose to do so will be brought to justice and face the full weight of the law.

“I am happy that the force is supporting officers around Coronavirus related assaults which will bring extra piece of mind to our members”.

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