Philip Davies MP calls for tougher sentences for criminals who assault police officers

Philip Davies MP is urging government to support his call to introduce tougher sentences for people who assault police officers - after he uncovered figures which show more than 150 West Yorkshire bobbies are being attacked each month.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said Police put their lives on the line for people every day and government must show it is committed to punishing anyone who attacks them in the line of duty by ensuring they face at least two years behind bars.

Figures from the House of Commons library show there were 1,897 assaults on West Yorkshire officers in the 12 months to April this year of which 480 were recorded as assault with an injury. In comparison, in 2017/18 there were 1,366 of which 413 resulted in injury. 

Mr Davies said: “It is an utter outrage that each day five Police officers across the county are being assaulted when they are trying to keep our families and communities safe. There has been an alarming rise in the number of attacks on public sector workers generally and we must ensure that those responsible feel the full force of the law. We need to show police officers we are on their side. They have a very hard job and at times a dangerous job. One attack on an officer in a year is one too many, to have nearly 2,000 incidents recorded is disgraceful.”

Mr Davies has written to the Sentencing Council asking for clearer guidance for magistrates regarding increasing the sentence they can give from six months to 12 month after he said he was told by magistrates the guidelines were not clear.

Mr Davies added: “The powers are there to sentence someone to a year in prison but magistrates need to know what they can do and need clear guidelines right now to ensure the will of Parliament is being delivered in even this small way. While I welcomed the doubling of the sentence available I want it doubled again and for a two year prison term to be handed down. I previously tried to change the law in Parliament but I was not successful. Not many MPs would back me.  I absolutely believe it to be right and I make no apology for being on the side of what is right versus what is the consensus of the day.

“ The figures I have been given are extremely disturbing and I will also be speaking with other MPs, yet again, and urging them to get behind my call to increase sentencing and show support for their police officers.”

Across England and Wales there were 31,000 assaults in 2018/19 of which 10,400 resulted in injury. It means there were around 26 assaults for every 100 officers on duty in that year based on full time-equivalent officers. Across West Yorkshire the ratio was higher at 38 per 100 officers on duty. 

Mr Davies added: “The Conservatives are committed to getting an extra 20,000 officers back on the streets but we need to protect them and send out a clear warning to those who attack them, they will face the most extreme punishment available.”

He said he would be contacting West Yorkshire’s Chief Constable John Robins in the coming days to discuss the figures.