A police officer is attacked almost every day in Cambridgeshire, the force has claimed.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary suffers around one assault per day, according to Chief Constable Nick Dean.
It comes as figures show that Cambridgeshire recorded the most substantial increase in assaults on police this year of anywhere in the UK.
The data gathered by the PA news agency found that there were at least 7,357 assaults against officers, constables and volunteers between March 23 and June 23.
The statistics were gathered from 31 of the 43 forces in Britain by Freedom of Information requests.
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Cambridgeshire Constabulary reported an increase of 121% with 128 attacks recorded in the three month period, up from 58 in 2020 and 41 in 2019.
Mr Dean told PA that the assaults have ranged from kicking and spitting to serious attacks.
“Here in Cambridgeshire, we probably have around about one assault to a police officer or police staff per day,” he said.
“I make personal contact with everyone who has been assaulted across my organisation, as well as the support from the staff association’s police federation.
“The nature of assault can really range from very serious to what we can class as lower-tier assaults such as being pushed or kicked, or what is very prevalent – being spat at.
“None of that, at any level, is acceptable within policing.”
Mr Dean told PA one of his new officers was assaulted so badly in February that he suffered a bleed on the brain, which left him needing an operation and put him out of action for the rest of the year.
He said the officer was hit over the head at a home in Peterborough by a man who had turned violent against his father while suffering from mental health issues.
Mr Dean said: “There’s no prouder moment as a chief than to welcome new officers into the organisation. We celebrate that with the officers and their families and it’s a very proud moment.
“But when you see sometime later – in this officer’s case a very short time later – that they have encountered a violent incident as a result, then it does have an impact.
“It has an impact on the officer, it has an impact on their family and friends, and I have to say it has an impact upon the organisation. From the feedback from the community, it has an impact on them too.”
Mr Dean said he believes assaults have increased because of a rise in mental health problems over the pandemic, and increasing numbers of protests over issues like climate change and Black Lives Matter.
“People are suffering much more from mental health and wellbeing issues, which have clearly increased during the lockdown, and the restrictive periods and in society in general,” he said.
“I think the opening up of the night-time economy with drugs and alcohol prevalent within that environment is also an issue of why we’ve seen an increase.
“We’ve equally seen, as we can’t hide from the media, in terms of protest activity and the number of protests we’ve seen in the capital and in major cities, or indeed here in Cambridgeshire, has increased dramatically.
“Since restrictions (were first imposed) we’ve seen other protests around climate change, Black Lives Matter – all of which put us at the forefront of managing large events with the potential of confrontation.”
He also added records of assaults against officers are improving, meaning that more instances are being tallied up than when he worked as an officer in the 1990s.
Chief Constable Dean said forces are tackling the issue through measures such as standardising training times for new officers, providing support for assaulted staff from the day an incident is recorded, and ensuring officers have body-worn cameras.
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: “Police officers and other emergency services workers should not have to face violence, abuse or threats of any kind. It is not part of the job.
“They are trying to help the public, serve their communities and save lives. It’s not acceptable, and with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who uses violence against front line staff.”
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