Concerns Over Police Safety In West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire Police say they are increasingly concerned about risks to officers after 51 assaults on officers and staff in the last six weeks.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said violence against staff was not simply 'part of the job' and highlighted a series of attacks on West Yorkshire Police officers over the past weekend.

On Kentmere Avenue in Seacroft on Saturday morning a Leeds PC intervened in a domestic incident after he saw a man and woman arguing.

The officer, who had been taking a missing child home, was attacked from behind by an another man and knocked unconscious with a serious head injury.

The 50-year-old male officer was admitted to hospital and unable to return to duty.

A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault, and an 18-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer. Both have been released on police bail.

In another incident in Leeds a male PC who stopped a car acting suspiciously with four men inside were assaulted by the four men who drove off.

The officer was able to remain on duty.

In the early hours of Saturday, officers attended an attack on an ATM machine in Keighley and were assaulted by a group of suspects. One male was arrested following a pursuit.

These assaults took place on another busy weekend for the force in which officers dealt with stabbings, serious assaults, sexual offences and a number of high risk missing people.

In the 24 hrs covering Friday evening, the Force received nearly 4700 telephone calls of which over 1000 were 999 calls and Leeds alone attended to 700 incident logs.

ACC Milsom said: "We are becoming increasingly concerned about the number and nature of assaults being committed upon our officers which is highlighted by the incidents this weekend and the additional research we are now undertaking with our local staff representatives.

"We accept the need to be to be fully accountable for our actions. However I cannot remember a time when negative criticism of the police has been so quickly levelled and assumed to be correct, sometimes by high or influential profile voices.

"It is beginning to feel that this negative criticism is having a corrosive and generally debilitating effect on the reputation of individual officers on the street, whose personal responsibility is far removed from the many high profile police issues dominating the headlines. I cannot say with certainty that the constant barrage of criticism of policing is leading to increased levels of assaults upon our officers, but I believe worrying signs are there.

"Our officers are not superheroes, they are ordinary people doing a very difficult job as best they can. Knowing they have their communities behind them makes all the difference."

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