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Police Officer Safety

Part of Community Pharmacies – in the House of Commons at 4:20 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 4:20 pm, 2nd November 2016

I will make a little more progress. There were 9,055 recorded assaults on police officers in 2015, and the number of convictions was 7,629. That represents an increase on the 2014 figures, but the 2014 total was the lowest that it had been for a number of years. However, according to the Home Office there were 23,000 assaults on police officers in 2015-16, including assault without injury and including the British Transport police. There are big discrepancies in those data. No one claims—I do not imagine that the Minister will do so—that the data are wholly reliable. Obviously, we hope that the latest rise in assaults may possibly be a consequence of higher levels of reporting, and that the long-term downward trend will resume. The data on assaults without injury to a constable are more robust, because there is more uniformity in their collection across forces. They have fallen over the long term, even though there was a rise last year. It would be surprising if assaults without injury fell consistently, but assaults resulting in injury were on the rise.

One thing we can be sure of is that the data need to be more reliable and robust. There is a clear and simple reform that we can introduce. We can insist that all police forces, working with the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics, provide the highest quality data on assaults on the police. It is a serious matter, and it needs to be taken seriously.