Officers 'bitten, spat on and racially abused', says police boss
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
Police officers are being bitten, spat on and racially abused on the job, according to the Met’s chief in Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham.
Det Ch Supt Paul Trevers, interim commander of the East Area Basic Command Unit, told the Recorder in the fortnight up to Wednesday, December 15, seven police constables were assaulted across the three boroughs.
He said one officer was punched in the head, one was bitten on the hand, two were kicked, another was spat on, one was racially abused and a seventh had his jacket “pulled” by a suspect.
So far this year, there have been 181 incidents in which the area's officers have been assaulted and injured, 10 of which were categorised as "serious", 14 of which were "moderate" and 157 "minor".
However, Det Ch Supt Trevers stressed that even these “minor” incidents could have a serious impact.
He said: “The officers that are spat at, that officer then goes off to hospital, they get tested for HIV, blood infections, hepatitis.
“It’s not just a case of clean yourself down and get showered, there’s a whole medical process [and] those officers are taken off the street for the next 48 hours pending the results.
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“There’s the impact on NHS colleagues who are having to look after our officers when they could and should be looking after the public."
The number of east area officers injured by assaults on the job so far this year is close to matching the 185 recorded in 2019, although somewhat down on the 226 recorded in 2020.
Additionally, there have been 197 incidents recorded this year in which east area officers were assaulted but not injured.
This compares to 274 in 2020 and 274 in 2019.
The data was recorded as part of Operation Hampshire, the Met’s initiative to improve its response to assaults on police officers and staff.
Last year, Det Ch Supt Trevers – then head of local investigations for east area – called for harsher penalties for assaults on police officers.