PFNI calls for Action Plan to counter upsurge in assaults on officers

PFNI calls for Action Plan to counter upsurge in assaults on officers

1 months ago Members News

PFNI calls for Action Plan to counter  upsurge in assaults on officers

The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, is calling for an urgent action plan from the Department of Justice to deal with a ‘deeply disturbing’ upsurge in assaults on officers.

Assaults on officers alone are up fifty-five percent in just four years.

Attackers have bitten, spat at, head-butted and struck officers, leaving many off work for long periods at a time when PSNI strength is at an all-time low.

Assaults on officers causing injury have risen from 626 in 2018/19 to 971 in 2022/23, a rise of 55%.

Mr Kelly said: “These figures represent a deeply disturbing upsurge in assaults. Assaults on our officers and staff are totally unacceptable and take a heavy toll on our men and women. We are not society’s punch bag or a release valve for those who seek to impose themselves and harm and intimidate others. 

“The rate of assaults on officers is worryingly high with official crime statistics recording a total of 3,272 assaults in 2022/2023 of which 971 involved injury.  This equates to a rise of 7.6% from the previous year in the injury category.

“There is also an element of internal under reporting so the real levels could be significantly worse.  

“Stronger, no-nonsense sentences handed down by the Courts would greatly assist to deter would-be attackers. We would appeal to the Justice Minister to move at pace on increased sentencing guidelines in support of both our officers and our emergency service partners. 

“As a minimum, I am calling for an urgent Action Plan from the Department of Justice in collaboration with the PSNI to deal with this upward and worrying trend.

“Our officers do not deserve to be targeted in this manner for simply doing their job. They work tirelessly on behalf of this entire community and any assault on them should be viewed as an assault on society overall."

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