Police in Rugby spat on and bitten, will a new law help?
An offender spat in the face of a Rugby police officer and bit her ear while another officer was headbutted during two incidents over the weekend '“ but a senior police figure hopes a new law will deter people from attacking officers.
Rugby police said the female officer was spat at and bitten as she attempted to arrest a woman, while the male officer was headbutted as he arrested a man wanted for serious offences outstanding from August.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe branded the attack ‘unacceptable’, while Rugbeians took to social media to support the officers, and praise them after it was revealed both officers continue to work as they recover from their injuries.
Mr Seccombe said: “Any assault on a police officer is unacceptable – it should not have to be regarded as something that is ‘just part of the job’.
“Policing often requires officers to deal with very difficult circumstances while keeping the public safe and it speaks volumes about the dedication of our officers that in lots of the cases I hear about, they will put any injury they suffer to one side and continue on working regardless.
“The messages of support for officers I see on social media show the true nature of public opinion towards our hard-working police and that is something that I too want to echo.”
One resident commenting on Rugby Police’s Facebook page after the incident said: “Respect to you both, we are proud of you.”
Another said: “Sorry you got hurt whilst carrying out your duties but thank you for trying to keep our streets safe.”
“Let’s all think about how they go above and beyond in their duties and let’s support our bobbies who are simply normal human beings doing their best in difficult circumstances! Well done and keep up the good work! It is appreciated by the residents of Rugby,” added another commentator.
A man and a woman, both from Rugby, have been charged with assaulting a police officer in the execution of their duty, along with other offences .
They are expected to appear in court soon.
The attacks come after the announcement of a new bill which will see the maximum prison sentence for those who attack police or other emergency service workers double from six to 12 months.
Mr Seccombe said: “It’s only right that we do all we can to ‘protect the protectors’, so I hope that the courts will make full use of this new law in future.
“With more stringent sentences available, I hope this begins to act as a deterrent to offenders.”
The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on Thursday, September 13, and is expected to come into force in November.
The new bill also means judges must consider tougher sentences for a variety of other offences, including GBH and sexual assault, if the victim is an emergency worker.
The bill applies to police, prison officers, custody officers, fire service personnel, search and rescue services and paramedics.
Visit www.gov.uk/government/news/jail-time-to-double-for-assaulting-an-emergency-worker to learn more about the bill.