'Unacceptably high' level of assaults on Police Scotland officers

Assaults on police officers and staff are down for the first time since 2015 but the number still remains unacceptably high and above the five year average, according to the latest figures.

Jun 6, 2022
By Website Editor
Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor

There were 7,046 recorded incidents in 2021/22 which includes officers and staff being punched, kicked and bitten while carrying out their duties. This is a decrease of 251 incidents compared to the previous year but 8.6 per cent higher than the five year average.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “Being the victim of an assault can have a long lasting impact both physically and mentally. Police officers and staff are no different and violence directed towards them when they’re trying to keep people safe is deplorable.

“The wider impact can also affect the communities we serve if officers need time away from police duties to recover. It’s not simply part of the job, it’s not acceptable and it will not be tolerated.”

Over the weekend of May 28-29 alone, there were four assaults against officers working in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Injuries included a broken finger, a lacerated knee, head and facial injuries and being bitten while helping a man in custody.

Police Scotland has brought additional focus to violence and abuse against officers and staff under the Your Safety Matters initiative. Operational Safety Training has been enhanced to increase the annual refresher course from one day to two days and introduced new techniques and de-escalation tactics.

New guidance for officers and staff has also been published to support better reporting of health and safety incidents and assaults, as well as a data dashboard to enable in-depth analysis and identify repeat offenders.

This year, Police Scotland reached an agreement with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to introduce impact statements during sentencing. This means the impact of violence can be heard and taken into consideration by the courts when sentencing an individual convicted of assaulting a police officer or member of staff.

The uplift programme to increase Specially Trained Officers (STOs) who carry Taser, which can offer an additional tactical option to keep officers and the public safe, continues.

The latest figures are part of Police Scotland’s Quarter 4 Performance Report which has been released for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. It will be presented at the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on June 7.

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