Please don`t kick me

Ron Hogg, the ‘Workforce Portfolio Lead’ for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has announced that he and his fellow PCCs are backing the second reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill in the House of Commons this week.

Oct 18, 2017

Ron Hogg, the ‘Workforce Portfolio Lead’ for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has announced that he and his fellow PCCs are backing the second reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill in the House of Commons this week. The Government had already said it will support the Private Members’ Bill so PCCs have put their shoulders to a wheel that is rolling into the distance. The Police Federation of England and Wales estimates that a police officer is assaulted every 13 seconds. We have to find this officer and give him, her or whoever first aid, immediately, if only to cut the violent crime statistics. Mr Hogg also reckons that around 70,000 NHS staff in England and Wales were assaulted in 2016, and he has eventually come to the view that “emergency workers must be able to do their job without the constant threat of being assaulted”. He may be a little slow but he is right, that would be a help, but Ron appears to think that grading these assaults as aggravated offences will act as a powerful deterrent. I have my doubts as it seems unlikely that someone high on drugs and alcohol will stop and decide not to kick a nurse on the off chance of one day being given a slightly more severe punishment. Since this particular bandwagon has already left, another approach PCCs might like to support is to promise to protect officers for expertly defending themselves and others, but we know this isn’t going to happen, largely because the outcomes are not beyond doubt and implications for political careers are not always clear. We know the problems with recording, investigating and prosecuting assaults on officers, each a barrier to holding perpetrators accountable. Well now it seems the service is introducing its own hurdles for investigating crimes, especially in London. Here Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons says officers must be “focused on serious crimes”, such as homicide, kidnap, sexual offences, hate crime or domestic violence, rather than ‘lower level, higher volume offences’ that presumably include assaulting ambulance staff. The Metropolitan Police Federation takes a contrary view, that it is important that officers investigate offences at every level “like we always used to”. Those were the days, although I can’t remember them. It seems probable that they are both wrong, and that we need to investigate more things, differently. The MPS has, however, despite its parlous condition, managed to free up some funds for airfares, hotels and overtime to investigate claims that Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein assaulted three women in London between the late 1980s and 2015. As the prioritisation debate intensifies, Labour’s police lead Louise Haigh has asked her Conservative counterpart Nick ‘Seldom’ Hurd how he would feel if his house was burgled and the crime wasn’t investigated. He replied that he would be “angry and frustrated” but has failed to give out his address to allow passing burglars to put the matter to a conclusive test. Politicians are happy to ask and be asked questions when the answer is already blooming obvious. Yours, Stitch

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