Kicked, beaten, and spat the line of duty

Fylde coast police officers have been injured in the line of duty on more than 450 occasions in the past three years – many down to assaults.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 21st October 2015, 1:47 pm

Frontline police have been punched, kicked and spat on scores of times, The Gazette can today reveal.

Officers on the Fylde coast have suffered broken bones, come into contact with contaminated blood and one officer in Blackpool was threatened with a knife.

Recorded assaults on officers include being kicked in the head, being kicked in the testicles ,as well as being head-butted.

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The figures also list several unspecified puncture wounds.

A catalogue of more than 2,500 injuries sustained by Lancashire officers while on duty since 2012 show the dangers police are exposed to.

It backs up concerns that assaults on police are becoming more common, given the sharp reduction in the number of officers working across the county.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said: “One assault on police is too many. We are not there as a punch-bag, that goes without saying.”

While the figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, include hundreds of relatively minor incidents, it also lists a series of career-threatening injuries and assaults.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “There is no doubt that officers in our force are often subject to some fairly aggressive behaviour that can lead to them being injured in the course of their work.

“They often go above and beyond and that should be recognised, but what also needs to be born in mind is when an officer is injured this can sometimes take them off duty for a period of time and reducing cover.

“If we have no resilience in place in terms of officer numbers then areas could go without a policing presence, which is clearly something we don’t want to see.”

Since 2012, there have been more than 450 officers injured on the Fylde coast.

There have been 18 documented bite-related injuries on the Fylde coast. At least seven of them were caused by dogs and one, in May 2013, resulted in four separate puncture wounds.

On April 21, 2012, it was reported an officer has got potentially contaminated blood in a cut in Blackpool.

Other recorded injuries on the Fylde coast include nine cases of whiplash, 10 broken bones, and 47 sprains.

Across the county, the number of recorded injuries rose to 746 last year, up on 691 in the previous 12 months.

Ms Baines said: “We have got fewer officers to be injured or assaulted so these figures indicate an increase.”

The figures do not make clear whether injuries were accidental or the result of an assault. Home Office data shows Lancashire officers reported being assaulted 212 times last year.

Crime figures for the year included 264 assaults without injury on a constable, although the true figure could be double that.

Ms Baines said: “Not all police assaults would necessarily be recorded as a crime.

“We are trying to show the true story and doing some work with the force around this.”

The Federation’s research suggests only half of assaults on police are recorded as a crime.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “These figures show the types of dangers police face every day across Lancashire.

“Officers are faced with risks which can involve putting their body in harm’s way to protect the public.

“We accept those risks, often regardless of the potential injuries officers could suffer.”