Eastern region Officer and Staff Safety Review update
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Hertfordshire Constabulary hosted an Eastern Region Officer and Staff Safety Review (OSSR) update meeting last Thursday (17 March).
Around 150 police officers and staff from six police forces (Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex) attended the virtual meeting, which was opened by Chief Constable Charlie Hall.
The regional event was hosted by Hertfordshire Constabulary in partnership with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing.
A review of Officer and Staff Safety was commissioned by the NPCC and as part of this the largest ever survey of police officers, staff and volunteers was carried out across England and Wales.
Overall, 88% of officers who responded to the survey said they had been assaulted at some point during their careers. Between 2008 and 2019, 92 police officers tragically lost their lives while on duty and 15 of those fatalities were as a direct result of a criminal act.
Published in September 2020, the report made 28 recommendations including a national overhaul of safety training, trialling new technology and tactics, reviewing the availability of equipment and taking a unified robust response after an assault. Chiefs have also agreed to take suggestions for legislative change to government to further protect officers and staff.
Last Thursday’s meeting gave policing colleagues an update on the progress made so far. This included:
New sentencing guidelines for magistrates and judges when dealing with offences of assaults on emergency workers with increased jail terms
A commitment to investigate assaults on officers and staff and improve support.
Increased availability of safety equipment such as taser, spit hoods and body armour.
New national training safety packages.
Hertfordshire has adopted all of the review’s recommendations and has implemented an effective recording and governance process to support constabulary police officers and staff.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “Policing is a hugely rewarding career but we know that our frontline police officers and staff face significant risks in the course of their duty.
“It is never acceptable for anyone to be assaulted whilst at work, whatever you do. While others run from danger, police officers and staff bravely put themselves in harm’s way to keep the public safe. So, we must do whatever we can to protect police officers and staff, to prevent future tragedies and to drive down the number of assaults against those who are simply doing their jobs.
“Last week six police forces were able to come together virtually to hear about the significant progress we have made following the review’s recommendations. A great deal of work has taken place behind the scenes but there is still more to be done and I know that the teams working on this are dedicated to delivering the review’s recommendations.”