New research into assaults on police officers

The new study will look to develop strategies to reduce risk to officers

​More than 1,000 incidents of police assaults will be reviewed as part of a £10,000 College grant to research officer safety.

Hampshire Constabulary has received a grant from the College to fund an initial four-month study of assaults against officers, with a view to extending the work on a national scale.

At present, while the Home Office collects statistics on assaults against police officers and generated a national estimate of 23,000 assaults in 2014/15, the data is limited and cannot be used to help us understand the circumstances surrounding these assaults.

The grant will allow Hampshire to employ a researcher from a local university to gather and analyse a sample of internal records of assaults against officers. The researcher will take information from a range of databases to develop a detailed picture of the nature of the circumstances surrounding assaults on officers. This information can help the force to develop strategies to reduce the risk to officers of being assaulted.

The researcher will draw on learning from the Hampshire approach to scope the potential for extending the study to other forces and exploring how the data could be used for national analysis to improve the evidence base on officer safety.

College of Policing research lead Nerys Thomas said: "Police officers go out every day knowing they could be placing themselves in danger but this doesn't mean that an assault on an officer is ever acceptable. As the professional body for policing, we want to ensure officers are protected while they're doing their jobs.

"This new research could result in a more detailed understanding of the picture of assaults on officers, which would inform the development of strategies to better protect officers.

"Hampshire Constabulary has already made officer safety a priority and I'm looking forward to working with them with a view to taking this issue nationwide."

John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, said: "Along with the chief constable I've been working hard to ensure assaults on police officers and members of staff are given the priority they deserve and that officers and staff who have been assaulted receive the support they need. 

"With this support from the College of Policing, I am hoping we will get a much clearer and accurate picture of the true level of assaults on our officers and staff, which can only improve the work we have started."

Rob Braddock, Hampshire Constabulary research manager, said: "A review of existing literature suggests that there is little prior research available into the various factors that are prevalent with regard to assaults against police officers. This research will endeavour to inform us whether there are key situational, personal and environmental elements that increase risk to staff.

"This will allow us to carry out an evidence-based review of policy, training and risk assessments. It is anticipated that over a thousand incidents will be reviewed, and this work, together with interviews and surveys, should provide a comprehensive understanding of the nature of these occurrences".

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