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Police Officer Safety

Part of Community Pharmacies – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service) 4:36 pm, 2nd November 2016

Public events such as that one pose an extra challenge for our police forces. That is the exactly the kind of event I was seeing police officers, from a number of areas, training for last night. That training has been going on over the past few weeks, so if the people of Wiltshire have been seeing flashing blue lights recently they do not have to panic—they were for training exercises. It is important that we make sure the police have the support and funding they need to continue not just the recruitment drives to make sure their forces are at the right level—London is at the right level, as, in effect, the highest funded police force in the country—but that sort of training. The College of Policing has a hugely important part to play, which I will come to in a moment. Changes in crime bring with them a need for officers who can adapt—who have up-to-date skills and the energy and innovation to keep renewing them, who are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society, who can follow criminals online as well as they can on our streets and who put victims at the heart of what they do.

I do not underestimate the job of our police forces. They are widely and rightly acknowledged as the best in the world. Policing is a hugely challenging career. Police officers will see more than most people would ever wish to. It is clearly not a job for the fainthearted; it needs strength, resilience and a commitment to making our society a better and safer place. But that does not mean that getting assaulted in the workplace is part of the deal or that being abused or hurt while doing the job should be part of the cost of doing business as a police officer. It is not and must not be.

Only this morning, a police officer was seriously injured after an incident in Lancashire. My thoughts—and, I hope, those of the whole House—are with the officer involved and his family. Just yesterday, it was reported that officers were attacked with fireworks by a group of youths in north London. That incident is obviously now being investigated by the police.