Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion is continuing his Behind the Badge campaign, as assaults against police increase by 10% this quarter.
Behind the Badge, launched earlier this year and focuses on reducing incidents by challenging behaviours, and encouraging people to recognise and respect that police officers are people outside of the uniform.
The second phase of the campaign focuses in at local level, encouraging community groups and local leaders to engage. The most common time for assaults against police to occur is in the early hours of Friday and Saturday mornings, so a particular focus will be around the night time economy. There will also be a focus on changing offender behaviour, through probation and prison services.
Commissioner John Campion said “Highlighting this issue is a continued priority for me, and whilst I’m pleased to see this being raised at a national level with the Assault of Emergency Workers Bill, there is still a lot more that we can do as communities to ensure dedicated and professional officers and staff, return safely to their families and loved ones.
Violence against police, or any emergency services workers is never acceptable. It’s important the people can recognise the long lasting impact that assaults have, and that negative behaviour displayed by a minority is challenged. I promise to continue to engage, with our communities, so we can continue to protect those who protect us.”
West Mercia Police, Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said “Police officers do an extremely difficult job in often challenging circumstances. Our officers and staff have a right to come to work and do the job the public ask of them. Committing an assault against a police officer is totally unacceptable and we will protect our workforce from injury by arresting anyone suspected of this, ensuring any incident will be fully investigated and appropriate action taken.”
Sergeant Russell Yeomans, Chair of the West Mercia Police Federation said “I would encourage the public to get behind this campaign, and the national Protect the Protectors campaign, led by the Police Federation. We fully support John Campion’s approach of highlighting this at a local level in order to challenge unacceptable behaviour.”
A new video has been produced in support of the campaign in which West Mercia PC Jon Townsend talks about the impact of an assault. View the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAOoZAOWPmc
BEHIND THE BADGE - - PC Townsend’s story
In 2013, PC Jon Townsend was still in his student phase as an officer, when he was called to suspicious incident in Kidderminster. A man was seen in a high powered sports car, which seemed unusual.
As he pulled up behind the car, and started doing normal police checks, the driver reversed, ramming the police van. Jon and his colleague got out of the van then smashed the window of the car to try and gain entry. He came face to face with the driver, who continued to reverse. Jon was trapped against the car as the offender drove him into the side of the police van.
He fell to the floor, injured with a dislocated knee, and the driver then drove at him. Jon managed to roll out of the way with the tyres narrowly missing his head. The driver continued to drive the car into a building, with Jon’s colleague still inside.
Jon got back up, and hobbled across as other colleagues arrived, and the driver was arrested. He was later jailed for the assault, and for his part in an armed robbery.
PC Townsend said “I had only recently made the move from PCSO to police officer, and this incident knocked my confidence massively. However from the support of my team, support of members of staff and members of occupational health I was brought through it.
I had to have quite a lot of counselling and therapy as well, but even though it was a very steep learning curve, it’s made me the person I am now. I am proud to still be a police officer, and still be able to work to serve our communities.
If nothing else, just remember that I have got a family that I would like to go back to, and a family that I am trying to look after even though I’m working, in terms of having wages and being able to buy things for my little children.
We are human, just like everybody else, and we have a job to do.”
For more information visit https://www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/working-together/behind-the-badge/