Assaults on police officers
The Daily Express and Daily Mail report that violent assaults on police officers have risen by a third in four years.
The Express front page reports that new Office for National Statistics figures reveal that officers are being injured at a rate of 28 attacks a day, and there were 10,399 assaults that caused injuries last year, up 32 percent from 2015/16.
The Express reports that in 2017, the Home Office introduced a specific category for ‘assault with injury on a constable’ in response to the number of attacks on officers.
Separately, the Times reports that the number of prolific offenders avoiding prison for assaulting police officers has almost doubled over the past decade, despite ‘soaring levels’ of attacks on officers.
The Times reports that last year 1,607 offenders with at least 26 convictions or cautions were not handed prison sentences, which is almost double the figure for 2008. In the year to March injuries to officers rose 27 per cent but none of the 44 offenders with 101 or more previous offences were jailed.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
Recent and shocking attacks on officers have been powerful reminders that the police put their lives on the line every single day to keep us all safe.
That is why one of the first acts of this Government was to bolster the ranks of the police by recruiting 20,000 new officers over the next three years. We’ve also lifted restrictions on the use of emergency stop-and-search powers to ensure the only people running scared are the criminals.
As Home Secretary, I will do everything I can to protect the police and the public.
The Mail and Telegraph carry further coverage of county lines gangs, following yesterday’s reporting that they are fuelling a surge in drug crime in small towns and villages.
The papers report that police data also shows large cities have, in comparison, seen drug crime decline. For example, drug crime in Liverpool has fallen 20 per cent in the past five years while it is increased by 40 per cent in nearly Chester.
The Telegraph reports that the drug crime trend is mirrored by knife crime, which rose by 50 per cent in rural areas in the past year. It adds that violence has spread from cities, fuelled by county lines drug gangs.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
We are working to disrupt the drug-dealing county lines gangs that are devastating our communities and put an end to the exploitation of vulnerable children.
Through the Serious Violence Strategy we have provided £3.6 million to establish the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre which has resulted in 1,600 arrests and 2,100 individuals protected.
We are investing over £220 million to support early intervention projects, which will help to support those at risk of county lines exploitation.
Crime summit and Violence Reduction Units
There is widespread coverage of yesterday’s crime summit, in which the Prime Minister called for faster justice, extra prison capacity and more police officers to bring down offending rates.
The Express reports on the announcement that Police and Crime Commissioners will get £35 million to set up Violence Reduction Units, which bring together organisations including police, councils, health and community leaders to tackle the root causes of violent crime.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said:
To beat knife crime we must do two things: first we need assertive, high profile police enforcement and second, we need a coordinated approach to the long term solutions to violence in society, especially amongst the young. These new units should help us get results on both.