PFNI: We must see tougher sentencing after spate of assaults on officers
Following a weekend spate of attacks on officers, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland is again calling for tougher sentences to be handed down to people who assault officers.
PFNI Chair Liam Kelly said: “This is wholly unacceptable level of violence against our men and women on duty. Twenty-five officers injured – eighteen of them across Belfast – shows there is an ongoing issue and worrying disrespect in some quarters towards the police.
“Our officers do not deserve to be spat at, bitten, kicked and punched as they go about performing their lawful duty. They are there to uphold the law and protect people and are certainly not there to be treated so disgracefully. Officer welfare is our priority and thankfully in these incidents in Belfast, Banbridge and Newry, serious injuries were prevented.
“These attacks will be fully and rigorously investigated and my hope is that we will see people prosecuted. When they are before the Courts, I hope sentences are handed down that reflect the seriousness of assaulting officers.
“Society has to send a clear message to would-be thugs. Officers are not there to be singled out for attack and only stiffer sentencing will get that message through to those who think they can behave in this matter with minimum consequences.
“Assaults on our colleagues are reprehensible. Even though there were no serious injuries inflicted, the mere act of being singled out by thugs can have an adverse impact on their psychological wellness. Assaults must stop, and I would appeal to our new Justice Minister to take the lead in showing that behaviour such as we witnessed over the weekend will carry severe penalties.