Protect the Protectors
Protect the Protectors is a multi-faceted campaign seeking to safeguard the physical and mental wellbeing of police officers. Our aims are tougher sentences for those who assault police officers and other emergency services, in addition to ensuring officers have the right protective tools and equipment and, in the case of responders, are not unfairly prosecuted for exceeding speed limits. British Transport Police and the Prison Officers Association (POA) have signed up to partner PFEW in the campaign.
Assaults on police officers are sadly commonplace. Our latest welfare survey data suggests there were more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over 12 months, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon during the same period. These figures estimate that an assault on a police officer happens every four minutes.
To assault a police officer, prison officer, or other emergency service worker is to attack society itself and should never be accepted as ‘part of the job’. Together with our partners, the British Transport Police Federation and Prison Officers’ Association, and supporters, we are campaigning for:
- a change in legislation
- tougher sentences
- better training and access to equipment
- more accurate data on police assaults
- improved welfare support
- more consistent reporting of assaults on emergency services (as these are vastly under reported)
- training and access to body-worn video, Taser and spit and bite guards.
We are working with MPs to press for a change in legislation, leading to tougher sentences for those who assault police officers and other emergency service workers. A review of sentencing for those convicted of assaulting police officers is also being called for - all too often sentences being passed do not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offence.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant's Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill went before Parliament on 20 October to create a new offence of assaulting an emergency worker. There was unanimous cross-party support and the Bill has subsequently cleared the committee stage and will proceed to the Report stage at Parliament on Friday 27 April 2018.
Officers have come forward from around the country to tell us the harsh realities of what they endure in the course of protecting the public, and the toll this can exact on their physical and mental wellbeing. You can read their stories (on the right-hand side) and in video testimonies below.
Legislation as it stands leaves police officers vulenerable to prosecution any time they engage in pursuit or response drives. This is because there are no exemptions that take into account the high level of specialised driver training officers are given. All driving standards are measured against that of a non-police trained “competent and careful driver”.
Officers including PC James Ellerton from Merseyside and PC James Holden (Hampshire) have faced prosecution for their actions on the road while attempting to prevent criminals from injuring members of the public. National Board member Tim Rogers is leading the Federation's campaign for an appropriate legislative change. Read more here.
How you can get behind the campaign