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Police Officer Safety

Part of Community Pharmacies – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Labour, Gedling 5:53 pm, 2nd November 2016

May I congratulate my hon. Friend Tracy Brabin on her fantastic maiden speech? I want to tell her that I thought she did Jo Cox’s memory a fantastic service. The integrity and honesty with which she spoke brought tears to the eyes of many people in the Chamber. The words she said about you, Mr Speaker, and everyone else shows her integrity as an individual and how outstanding an MP she will be for Batley and Spen. I am sure that Jo Cox, if she is looking down on us, and certainly Brendan and all the family will have seen her speech and will treasure it. Her fantastic speech moved all of us.

May I also congratulate my hon. Friend Holly Lynch on obtaining this important debate? I say that as the son of a man who was a Metropolitan police officer for 30 years.

The Minister has some very real questions to answer at the end of this debate. Let us remind ourselves that we are talking about 23,000 assaults on police a year, which is more than 63 a day. Of those assaults, 8,000 involve an injury, which is some 21 a day. In my police force in Nottinghamshire, there were 45 self-reported assaults and 267 assaults without injury. To me, each of those is an assault not just on an individual police officer, as bad as that is, but on the symbol of the rights of us as individuals to live in a democracy under the law.

When the Minister responds, will she say whether she is satisfied that the law on police officer assaults is satisfactory? In particular, Victoria Borwick mentioned the Notting Hill carnival. Many of those assaults were by young people who are not covered by the sentencing guidelines on assaults on police officers, which refer to people who are 18 or over.

The House deserves a better answer to the questions from the shadow Home Secretary and others about the Government’s policy on body-worn video cameras and how they will be rolled out. It is not good enough for the Government to turn around and say it is an operational matter. Surely the Government have a view on whether it should be accelerated or encouraged.