2,500 police officers hurt on duty across Lancs

police officer on the beat
police officer on the beat
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Hundreds of police officers are injured in the line of duty in Lancashire every year.

Frontline police have been punched, kicked and spat on scores of times in the last three years, shocking new figures show.

Officers in our force are often subject to some fairly aggressive behaviour that can lead to them being injured in the course of their work

Police and Crime Commissioner

A catalogue of more than 2,500 injuries sustained by officers while on duty since 2012 – more than two a day – show dangers police are exposed to.

It backs up concerns that assaults on police are becoming more common, despite sharp reductions in the number of officers working in Lancashire.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said: “One assault on police is too many. We are not there as a punch-bag, that goes without saying.”

While the figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, include hundreds of relatively minor incidents, it also lists a series of career-threatening injuries and assaults.

Officers around the county have suffered broken bones, come into contact with contaminated blood and got glass in their eye.

On three occasions, a constable has been kicked or punched in the testicles. Another was cut with a blade, while the figures list several unspecified puncture wounds.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “There is no doubt officers in our force are often subject to some fairly aggressive behaviour that can lead to them being injured in the course of their work.

“They often go above and beyond and that should be recognised, but what also needs to be born in mind is when an officer is injured this can sometimes take them off duty for a period of time and reducing cover.

“If we have no resilience in place in terms of officer numbers then areas could go without a policing presence, which is clearly something we don’t want to see.”

Since 2012, there have been more than 450 officers injured across Preston, Chorley and Leyland. A further 146 were hurt in Lancaster and Morecambe. Across the county, the number of recorded injuries rose to 746 last year, having fallen to 691 in the previous 12 months.

Ms Baines said: “We have got fewer officers to be injured or assaulted so the fact these figures are fairly static would indicate an increase.”

The figures do not make clear whether injuries were accidental or the result of an assault.

Home Office data shows Lancashire police officers reported being assaulted 212 times last year.

Crime figures for the year included 264 assaults without injury on a constable, although the true figure could be double that. There was no data for more serious assaults.

Ms Baines said: “Not all police assaults would necessarily be recorded as a crime.”

“We are trying to show the true story and doing some work with the force around this.”

She said it was not always easy to distinguish between an accident in the workplace and an assault, while multiple assaults as part of a larger disturbance may not be individually recorded.

The Federation’s own research suggests only half of assaults on police officers are recorded as a crime.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “These figures show the types of dangers police face every day across Lancashire.

“Officers are faced with risks which can involve putting their body in harm’s way to protect the public.

“We accept those risks, often regardless of the potential injuries officers could suffer.”