Police officers come under attack 900 times in a year
Police came under attack on 900 occasions in a year, new figures have revealed – as a senior officer described policing urban areas like Birmingham and Wolverhampton as a 'nightmare'.
Richard Cooke, who is chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, said violence against officers was making some reluctant to deal with crime on their own.
The figures released by the Home Office showed out of the 900 attacks on West Midlands Police officers in 2017/18, 351 resulted in an injury.
In Staffordshire, a total of 518 attacks on police were recorded, 178 with injury, and in West Mercia, 579 assaults recorded, 196 with injury.
Asked what the impact of the violence was on officers, Sgt Cooke told the Express & Star: "Quite a bit – it impacts team morale and it makes them think twice when working on their own.
"If an officer is on their own and they see a gang of youths causing trouble, rather than going to challenge them and do a stop and search, they may reluctantly carry on driving and wait for back-up.
"This means policing is compromised."
Mr Cooke is calling for all front line officers to be armed with Tasers. Currently, around a quarter have access to the weapons.
He has also welcomed a move by the force to introduce body cameras for all front line officers by the end of this year.
He said: "I think the numbers of assaults have gone up.
"With the general rise of violence, officers too are getting on the end of it. It is particularly bad in urban areas like Birmingham and Wolverhampton where it can be a nightmare."
In July, a police officer was left with a black eye when investigating an armed gang in Dudley.
In the same week, a male officer was spat in the face while attending an incident at in Walsall.
Birmingham-based PC Richard Chant was recently punched in the face and left with a broken nose when attending a report of disorder.
He said: "There are fewer and fewer police officers policing night time economies and there is more and more disorder.
"More times [now] officers are having to become involved to breakup these disorders up and by becoming involved officers are putting themselves at risk and are being assaulted."
Latest figures show there were the equivalent of 6,581 full-time officers in the West Midlands force in March 2018.
It is the lowest number of police officers at the force since 1974.