Wiltshire Police in step with recommendations of national staff and officer safety report
Wiltshire Police is already following key recommendations contained in a national report into staff and officer safety which was published today.
The national Officer and Staff Safety Review, which was commissioned in response to concerns about rising assaults and violence directed towards police officers, examines existing arrangements for the safety of police officers and staff in England and Wales.
The force is already in line with key recommendations including adopting a robust approach to assaults on staff and officers, ensuring that officers have appropriate protective equipment and that body armour is regularly maintained.
It is also leading the way in terms of implementing further recommendations such as ensuring officers have specialist first aid equipment and appropriate high viz clothing.
The report was commissioned by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) last September to create a set of recommendations designed to reduce risk to police officers and staff of being assaulted or killed in the line of duty.
In Wiltshire, 129 officers were assaulted between September 2019 to August 2020.
This compares to 121 in 2018/19 and 103 in 2017/18.
The right protection
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: "As we continue to respond to the global COVID pandemic the safety of our officers, staff and special constables and ensuring that they have the right kit and equipment, has never been so significant.
"It is of paramount importance that our frontline teams have the right protection, training and tools to enable them to protect the public in the safest way possible.
"Sadly, we are not immune to violent assaults on our employees here in Wiltshire - the number of assaults on officers and staff has been increasing steadily over the last few years and continues to rise.
"Even during the COVID pandemic, officers and staff have been spat at, kicked and assaulted as they simply try to keep our communities safe during what is a hugely challenging and unsettling time for all.
"Let me be absolutely clear- I will not tolerate an assault of any kind on any member of Wiltshire Police.
"We've already introduced a large number of improvements to best protect our staff including the introduction of spit and bite guards, increased the number of officers who carry taser and I also provide a personal statement every time someone appears in court charged with assaulting one of my officers.
"I welcome the recommendations of this review which underlines the importance of taking a robust and consistent approach towards protecting our police officers and staff.
"I'm pleased to say that we are already in line with most of the key recommendations contained in the report."
As part of the study, researchers surveyed more than 40,000 police officers, staff and volunteers in the largest such survey ever undertaken. They also commissioned a study from University College London to explore public perceptions of the use of force by police forces.
Nationally between 2008 and 2019, 92 police officers lost their lives on duty, 15 as a direct result of a criminal act. Overall, 88% of officers who responded to the survey said they had been assaulted at some point during their careers, and 39% reported that they had been assaulted in the last 12 months.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "I wholeheartedly welcome this review and any recommendations which ensure the safety of our officers, staff and volunteers as they carry out their duties.
"I have heard first-hand the impact that assaults on officers can have - not just the physical scars but mental and emotional ones as well.
"It is completely unacceptable for any emergency service worker to be assaulted for simply doing their job - which is about protecting our communities and keeping people safe.
"The Chief Constable has my full support in taking the learning from this report and implementing improvements to best protect our officers and staff."