Lee Johnson, Lincolnshire Police
Op Hampshire has been a welcome introduction and has brought a much-needed national focus to what is an ongoing and challenging issue of assaults against police officers.
When studying for my Doctorate, there was little UK research on assaults and a lack of wider public or Government focus on this area. The risk to police officers is now in the public conscience and there is work to bring about national consistency across all police forces on the recording of assaults and the support offered to officers and staff following an assault, hopefully creating better outcomes and ensuring that all of those harmed have access to support.
Impactful change can only come about when based on valid data and analysis. By encouraging reporting and recording assaults through showing that police forces and the Government are taking them seriously, means that there will be a better understanding of assaults and we can all work together to reduce their number.
Having been assaulted and having to explain injuries or the reason for blood tests to family members and loved ones is difficult, especially if they do not work with the police. I have been scratched, spat at and punched all for doing my job and such behaviour cannot be tolerated.
There is a lot of work to do, and Op Hampshire is a major step in the right direction. There is a need to remove the view that assaults are ‘part of the job’ and challenge prevailing occupational police culture(s), as well as working with our partners in the CPS and the courts on outcomes and our communities on trust and confidence. With these and other key factors as well as a better understanding of assaults from the data and personal experiences we will be able to work towards a consistent approach where assaults and risk are reduced.