Eleven Kent Police officers were assaulted after responding to calls for help from the public last weekend – including three in Thanet,
Between Friday, June 28 and Sunday, June 30 , officers reported being spat at, kicked, threatened with violence, punched and pushed. In one incident an officer required hospital treatment after hitting his head in attempting to restrain a suspect.
On Friday three officers in Thanet were spat at, punched and kicked after arresting a man in connection with a criminal damage offence.
At each incident the suspect was arrested using new powers under the recently introduced Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018.
The act came into force in November 2018 and created a new offence of assault against emergency workers, including police, paramedics, nurses and other blue light workers. It also provides tougher sentencing powers for judges.
Since then Kent Police has charged a total of 435 people under the new legislation.
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker said: “Every day our officers are required to attend unpredictable, challenging and sometimes volatile situations. This doesn’t mean they should accept being abused, assaulted or spat at as part of the job.
“The large number of arrests made at the weekend demonstrates that such behaviour will simply not be tolerated.
“Like any other job, officers should not be subjected to assaults whilst they are carrying out their duties. It is unacceptable and those who are responsible for abusing and assaulting police officers can expect to be charged with an offence that can carry serious penalties.”
In addition to the new legislation, to protect officers from violence, the number of Taser trained officers is being increased across Kent.
Any officer who is likely to have to deal with violent incidents whilst on duty is now able to choose to go through a rigorous training and accreditation programme to carry the less than lethal weapon. At the end of 2018 there were 334 Taser-trained officers in Kent. This figure is projected to rise to between 1,000 and 1,500.