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I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from “notes” to the end of the Question and add:
“that any assault on a police officer is unacceptable and welcomes the work of the independent Sentencing Council in producing guidelines that specifically highlight the increased seriousness of an offence committed against anyone providing a public service;
further welcomes the Government’s commitment to accurately record the number of assaults on police officers in England and Wales to better understand the scale of this issue;
and further notes that the Government has protected police spending in real terms over the Spending Review period.”
I welcome the opportunity to debate such an important subject as police safety. I join Ms Abbott and others in congratulating Holly Lynch on the work she has done. I am sure that the Adjournment debate on this subject played a part in bringing about this debate. It is important to raise this issue, and she is right to stand up for her constituency force.
As I told the House in a recent debate on police assaults, called by the hon. Member for Halifax, this is an area that I have great concern about. I am determined that we have a clear position that unites us across the House. I want to ensure that we are doing all that we can to support front-line police officers and police staff, as well as the public sector more generally. There needs to be a clear message that assaults on and bad behaviour towards people who are serving the public is unacceptable in any form.
I was delighted a few weeks ago to join the Home Secretary in celebrating achievements in all areas of policing at the annual Ferrers awards, which celebrate the achievements of special constables, cadets and the whole police volunteer family. Along with the police bravery awards, they are undoubtedly among the highlights of the policing calendar. Both events give us the chance to pay tribute to the brave men and women and the cadets for all they do, whether in a voluntary capacity or as full police officers and staff, day in, day out, to keep our country and our residents safe.
Just last night, I attended a police training exercise in Wiltshire, where I saw at first hand how officers prepare to deal with attacks against them by protesters. I was hugely impressed by the way in which officers handled themselves in fast-paced scenarios based on spontaneous public order situations and was struck by the level they must train to, to be ready for the kind of attack that can come upon them from members of the public. It was a stark reminder of the way in which they put themselves at risk every day for us.