Express & Star

Schoolboy arrested after female police officer 'punched in the throat' during domestic incident in Walsall

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a female police officer was "punched in the throat, left struggling to breathe and unable to complete her shift".

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The officer was assaulted during a domestic incident at an address in Walsall on Wednesday, August 16.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said today: "A female officer was assaulted after we were called to a domestic incident at an address in Walsall on Wednesday afternoon.

"A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and taken into custody.

"He has been released on bail while we continue to investigate."

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the incident and he has since been bailed.

Chair of the West Midlands Police Federation, Sergeant Richard Cooke, told the Express & Star that the assault made him feel "sick" and that all police officers should be given Tasers to lessen the risk of them being assaulted.

Sergeant Cooke said: "It happened to a colleague who was just trying to do her duty. A throat punch is very frightening in the moment.

"Unfortunately, this is what we are seeing across the force, police officers are being targeted increasingly by violent criminals and it does have an effect.

"It's not just a physical effect, often the mental effect is a far worse trauma. It takes a long time to get over."

Sergeant Cooke has himself been assaulted while on duty and said: "I was a seasoned cop of 20 years getting headbutted while making an arrest.

"It makes you question yourself - Was it your fault? Could you have done it differently? Did you forget your training? But it is the attackers who have done that."

He added: "I don't want to draw distinctions between men and women in the force. In recent years, we've seen increasing numbers of women joining the police and that's a really good thing.

"A high proportion of female officers on the front line has benefits - such as the experience they bring to the job - but we have to acknowledge there's an extra risk of violence.

"All officers deserve a Taser for when violence escalates. We can't say having a Taser would have prevented this. But if officers are wearing a Taser, it's a visible deterrent, regardless of whether it's used or not.

"Wearing one makes an officer nine times less likely to be assaulted. We think it's a no-brainer."

In response, Superintendent Martin Hurcomb, the West Midlands Police force lead for Taser, said: "There’s nothing more important to us than the safety of our people and the safety of the public.

"Taser is a really useful tool amongst a variety of options that help officers to stay safe and to keep people safe.

"The use of Taser is regulated by strict standards and is issued to our officers following a rigorous training programme.

"Officers have a choice whether they want to be trained to carry Taser and we currently have more than 1,000 who are authorised to do so, with plans for more to be fully equipped in the near future.

"Taser is an important tactical option for officers, but is not the answer to all violent or threatening situations.

"It is important to stress that the use of Taser in most cases does not include firing. For the vast majority of incidents the threat is mitigated by the sheer presence of the device."

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