Assaults on Police

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd January 2015.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were convicted of assaulting a police officer in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion of those people received a prison sentence.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We take threats or violence towards police officers seriously, and there are tough sentences available for the most serious violent offences.

The specific offence of an assault on a police constable in the execution of his duty is a summary only offence carrying a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment. Sentencing guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Council provide for custody to be the starting point in the most serious cases. It is important to emphasise, however, that this offence is likely to be the appropriate charge only where there is no injury or injuries which are not serious. Where there has been a more serious assault the perpetrator would be charged with a more serious offence such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which carry long prison sentences. These are not included in the statistics provided.

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent judiciary, taking account of the circumstances of the case and the maximum penalty for the offence.

The number of people convicted of assaulting a police officer, in England and Wales, 2013 (latest data available) can be viewed in table below.

Number of people found guilty for offence relating to Assault on a constable , England & Wales, 2013(1)(2)



Found Guilty


Immediate custody


Custody rate (6)


(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(3) The proportion of offenders sentenced who are sentenced to immediate custody.

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

PQ 220998

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