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Fed urges chiefs to submit impact statements in court

Personally written documents will allow judges to take into consideration the impact the assault has had on the force, the officer?s family and the public.
Published - 16/01/2018 By - Sophie Garrod - Police Oracle

The Fed is calling on chief constables to support assaulted officers by writing impact statements when attackers are brought before court.

The new approach will see chiefs taking the time to personally outline to the magistrate or judge the effect the attack has had on the officer and force.

The move comes with the backing of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The document will be used during sentencing and allows the judge to take into consideration the impact. It will be used in conjunction with statements from the victim.

West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson announced last week he will be adopting this approach.

“Our officers will always do the right thing and routinely put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, but we need to bring to justice criminals who think that it is okay to abuse and hit out,” he said.

“Time off recovering from a senseless attack is time taken away from the very communities that need them policing their streets and protecting them.

“When it comes to prosecuting suspects, we have been working closely with CPS in our region.

“We will be making sure that for each prosecution of an assault on one of our officers or staff, the court understands the impact this has on us, our families, our workplace and the policing of the West Midlands."

He added: “All too often police officers and staff are subjected to assaults and threats. While the severity of such attacks changes, the impact upon society does not. It is never acceptable to assume that assaults upon police officers and staff should be tolerated, they are not ‘part of the job’."

Backing the chief’s stance, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “I am pleased that the Chief Constable is getting tough on these unacceptable crimes.

"The police protect the public, it is therefore important we protect our officers, PCSOs and staff too.

"Officers and staff should not have to put up with violence and assaults whilst keeping the public safe.

"West Midlands Police takes assaults against its staff and officers incredibly seriously. The force will do all in its power to bring those who commit such crimes to justice."

Police Federation of England and Wales Chairman Calum Macleod said: “To assault a police officer, or other emergency service worker is to attack society itself and should never be accepted as ‘part of the job'.

"Individual victim impact statements have long been used to help courts understand the affects this has on those directly involved but this takes it a step further.

"I hope this goes a long way to reinforcing the message that assaults on our officers are completely unacceptable and the impact is much wider.”

The announcement follows the example of other chiefs, including West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins.

“It is good news that some chiefs are already doing this but it would be better if all did. It is something we will push with the National Police Chief’s Council to see if they will drive it forward further if they are not already do so,” added Mr Macleod.

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