POLICE officers in South Yorkshire are calling for tougher sentences on thugs who beat up bobbies, after a colleague was assaulted in a pub.
The call came from both the Police Federation - which represents rank and file officers - and from South Yorkshire’s Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Max Sahota.
Police Federation chairman Neil Bowles said: “There needs to be a deterrent. Officers are not fair game.
“It is a difficult enough job protecting the public, enforcing the law, and acting as guardians of communities, so the more we are attacked the more difficult it will become.
“An injured officer needs time to recover and will be unavailable for duty.”
DCC Sahota, the second most senior ranking officer in South Yorkshire, added: “It’s totally unacceptable for anyone to assault a police officer in any way, whether verbally or physically, and there needs to be protection for the protectors.
“We give officers equipment for their protection in terms of batons and gas, but sometimes it is not enough.”
DCC Sahota said officers used to be sent to jobs in pairs, but now incidents are risk-assessed to help bosses manage staffing levels.
“For a long time we have been trying to be more efficient in the way we use the officers we have - to maximise visibility and accessibility to the public and to promote safety,” said.
“We are trying to make cops more visible and have had a policy for some time about single crewing by default, and only double crewing if we need to because of a risk assessment.
“On nights it is more likely that officers will be double crewed, but not routinely, and the policy hasn’t changed because of cuts.
“It is important to recognise that having cops double crew going to jobs doesn’t stop them getting assaulted.
“It’s about making the best use of the people we have got.”
He said a full investigation into Monday’s incident is now underway.
“I personally find it totally and wholly unacceptable,” he added, “and we will do all we can to bring people before the courts to be prosecuted for incidents like this.
“Our officers go out day and night to protect the people of South Yorkshire and put themselves on the line in terms of their personal safety. This is an example of the situations our officers sometimes face.”