Pledge to improve officer and staff safety

3 September 2020

A national survey of more than 40,000 officers and staff has revealed that in 2018/19 there were 328 assaults per 1000 constables — roughly one offence for every three constables — up from 284 per 1000 in the previous year.

In total, there were 30,885 recorded assaults on police officers, the College of Policing found.

A full-scale review of officer and staff safety has now been completed in response to concerns about rising assaults and increased violence against officers.

In September 2019, the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) Chairman, Martin Hewitt, commissioned a team of police officers and staff to gather professional expertise, review available evidence and make recommendations to improve officer and staff safety.

All 28 recommendations were unanimously agreed by the Chief Constables’ Council in January.

Publication of the report was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also highlighted issues of safety for frontline officers and staff. Work has been underway since then to begin implementing the recommendations of the review and to improve safety of officers and staff.

The reports, guidelines and survey results can all be found at https://beta.college.police.uk/article/npcc-and-college-policing-pledge-improve-officer-and-staff-safety.

The College of Policing has agreed to overhaul current safety training and replace it with a new national curriculum, including recommended contact time with trainers, which all chief constables in England and Wales have committed to ensuring is met.

A national framework for conducting a strategic threat and risk assessment will be created to ensure consistency of approach across police forces, even if local circumstances mean different decisions about equipment and deployment.

Every chief constable will review whether their frontline officers and staff have the equipment they need and they will increase the availability of Taser, body armour, spit and bite guards, protective gloves and high-visibility clothing to proportionate levels if supported by their strategic threat and risk assessments.

“We’re overhauling safety training, trialling new technology and tactics, reviewing the availability of equipment and taking a hard line on the standard of response after an assault,” Mr Hewitt said. “Chiefs have also agreed to take suggestions for legislative change to government to further protect officers and staff.”