Shocking scale of attacks on police officers in Calderdale last year uncovered including officers being stabbed, punched and headbutted

Police officers in Calderdale were stabbed, scratched, kicked, bitten, slapped, punched, spat at and headbutted last year, according to new figures.
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Officers were also subjected to racist and homophobic abuse, put into a headlock and had a pint glass thrown at them.

A lighter was also used to try and burn an officer's arm, while another officer's hand was injured when a car door was slammed shut onto it.

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The shocking incidents have been uncovered after a Freedom of Information request by the Courier on assaults to emergency service personnel in the borough in 2023.

Police tapePolice tape
Police tape

There were 151 assaults, with youngest person arrested a 12-year-old boy, who punched a female officer in Elland.

A 13-year-old girl was also arrested having kicked an officer in the stomach, while another 13-year-old girl in Todmorden punched a female officer in the face.

The oldest person arrested was a 68-year-old man from Park Ward who kneed an officer in the back.

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Craig Nicholls, chair of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "Calderdale district in Halifax has been confronted with attacks on emergency service workers throughout 2023. The data uncovered is of no surprise, it paints a distressing picture of the challenges faced by my members and those tasked with protecting the most vulnerable and serving the community.

"The sheer volume of assaults on emergency service personnel highlights a concerning trend that jeopardises the safety and well-being of those dedicated to safeguarding the public. Emergency workers, police officers, have been subjected to an unacceptable level of violence while carrying out their duties.

"It's deeply distressing to see the extent of these attacks on my members and other emergency service workers, my members put their lives on the line every day to ensure the safety and security of our communities. They should not have to fear for their safety while carrying out their vital roles.

"The data revealed underscores the urgent need for measures to protect emergency service workers from harm.

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"Assaults on these frontline workers not only pose a direct threat to their physical and mental well-being but also hinder their ability to effectively carry out their duties, ultimately compromising public safety.

"It is unacceptable that emergency service workers should face violence and aggression as a matter of course in carrying out their duties. My members are dedicated police officers who deserve our utmost respect and support, not to be subjected to such reprehensible behaviour by a small minority of people.

"West Yorkshire Police Federation and Holly Lynch MP were the driving force behind the assault emergency worker legislation and efforts must be intensified to address holding those persons who so easily resort to acts of violence fully accountable for their actions in a court of law, with robust sentencing.

"It is imperative that the communities come together to condemn such acts of violence and rally behind those who selflessly serve and protect. Only through collective action can meaningful change be achieved to safeguard the well-being of emergency service workers and uphold the values of safety and respect within the community."

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Halifax MP Holly Lynch said: “I am appalled to see that there were over 150 assaults on police officers alone in Calderdale last year. It’s absolutely unacceptable that dedicated public servants face serious assault and abuse simply for doing their jobs, trying to keep us all safe. Any assault on emergency workers is unacceptable.

“I campaigned successfully to introduce a new law in 2018 that which brought in tougher sentences for those who attack our emergency service workers. However, the maximum sentences, which should act a deterrent, are not handed out enough in our courts. We need to send a clear message that as a society we will not tolerate this behaviour.”

West Yorkshire Police said in a statement: “Emergency workers, including police officers and police staff, work hard to keep our communities in Calderdale safe and there is no excuse for violence against them.  

“Police officers and staff of West Yorkshire Police are tireless in their efforts to protect the communities of West Yorkshire and any assaults against them – especially when they are simply doing their job – are wholly unacceptable.  

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“The seriousness of assaulting any emergency worker has been recognised in the sanctions provided by the Assaults on Emergency Services Act. As a force we will continue to do all we can to support colleagues as they carry out their role.”