Cheshire Constabulary has pledged its commitment to enhancing the safety of police officers and staff as part of a national review.
Police safety training is to be overhauled and an assessment of equipment available to the frontline will be carried out following the findings of a survey commissioned by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing.
More than 40,000 officers and staff across the country completed the survey, which has allowed a full-scale review in response to concerns about a rising number of assaults and increased violence against officers.
All 28 recommendations were unanimously agreed by Chief Constables’ Council earlier this year but publication of the report was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today (Wednesday 2 September) it has now been published and confirms that work has been ongoing nationally over the past few months to begin implementing the recommendations.
In Cheshire, the force has taken on board the findings from the national review and has introduced a local action plan to meet the needs of officers and staff.
Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “Any attack on a police officer is shocking but recent incidents across the country serve as a stark reminder of the dangers that they face on a daily basis.
“As Chief Constable of Cheshire the safety of my officers is of paramount importance and I am committed to doing all I can to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped with the tools that they need to do their job effectively.
“That is why the force is supporting this national review, commissioned by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It will complement the work that we already carry out to asses and mitigate the threats and risk our officers face.
“As well as the national survey, an internal review has also been carried out. From both our findings and those from the national review, an action plan has been put together in relation to the key points. Those areas have been allocated a senior officer to take the lead and start to make a real difference in ensuring our officers’ safety.”
Cheshire’s action plan includes a focus on training and wellbeing support, equipment and operational response, criminal justice outcomes and roads policing and officer safety.
Over the past 12 months the force has recorded a total of 637 assaults on police officers – with or without injury – this equates to more than 50 assaults a week.
CC Martland added: “The impact of an assault on an officer should not be underestimated – not only does this have an effect on their physical and mental wellbeing it also potentially takes an officer off the streets for a period of time putting added pressure on others to uphold the level of service we strive to provide to the communities of Cheshire.
“I am committed to ensuring that as a force we are doing everything we can to reduce the risk to our officers. However, in cases where an officer is assaulted on duty we will make sure they receive all the necessary support from the Constabulary and, where appropriate, action is taken against offenders and they are brought to justice.
“It is important to remember that attacking an emergency services worker is a criminal offence and can result in a jail sentence.”
David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, added: “I am supportive of these changes which will provide more protection for police officers and police staff.
“No officer or PCSO should go to work expecting to be attacked but, sadly, this is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence. Individuals working on the frontline put themselves at risk every day to protect Cheshire residents, therefore it’s vital they are provided with the right training and appropriate equipment to allow them to carry out their roles safely.
“In my role to monitor the performance of Cheshire Constabulary on behalf of Cheshire residents, I will ensure these changes are providing the best protection for our officers and staff.”