Attacks on South Yorkshire police officers 'nearly a daily occurrence'

Supt Paul McCurry
Supt Paul McCurry

Attacks on police officers in South Yorkshire are 'nearly a daily occurrence,' according to a senior officer.

Superintendent Paul McCurry, who oversees neighbourhood policing and partnerships, raised the issue on Twitter when he said he had met one of two Sheffield officers recently assaulted as they tried to detain a suspect in the city.

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He said: "Whilst accepting of the facts, this is unacceptable and is nearly a daily occurrence."

There were 355 assaults on South Yorkshire officers recorded between April 2015 and March 2016, which went up to 408 between April 2017 and March 2018.

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Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley said officers face danger on a daily basis and procedures are in place to support those attacked in the line of duty.

"Our officers come to work every day not knowing what incidents they may need to respond to, or the potential dangers they could face when responding to calls from members of the public," he said.

"Policing, by its nature, is a difficult and often stressful job; our officers run towards potential harm each and every day in order to serve and protect the public of South Yorkshire.

"There are many dangers officers may face whilst on duty, which could potentially leave them with serious injuries."

He added: "To highlight the importance of reporting an injury while on duty and in particular, reporting any assault on an officer, we have a dedicated internal campaign to raise awareness of this and we provide an eight point plan in relation to the support we expect to be given when our officers are victims of such assaults.

"We also have a detailed and thorough internal process to support officers who have been injured while on duty and we will always do everything we can to ensure their welfare.

"Our eight point plan relating to assaults on police officers and staff details our commitment to ensuring that if our people are assaulted we will investigate with the same care, compassion and commitment as we would an assault on a member of the public. In addition to this, the Chief Constable has provided a business and personal impact statement which can be read out to the court, reinforcing his support for the officers and the impact it has upon them personally, their families and the wider organisation."

One of the most serious attacks on police officers in recent times came in April 2016 when a man struck an officer over the head with an axe and punched and strangled her colleague after flying into a rage.

PCs Lisa Bates and Mark Garrett, 38, were attacked while responding to an domestic incident at a flat in Plowright Close, Gleadless Valley.

Their attacker - Nathan Sumner, then aged 35 - chased PC Bates while brandishing an axe, causing her to break her leg as she jumped down a set of stairs in a desperate bid to escape.

She suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to her hand and fingers in the attack before a member of the public intervened.

Sumner was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent after a trial.

He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and detained under the Mental Health Act.

Last month, two police officers were attacked with a table leg during a disturbance in a house in Sheffield.

The officers were called to a house in Remington Avenue, Parson Cross and came under attack while trying to make an arrest.

A Taser was deployed during the incident.

In April, a man was jailed for 14-and-a-half years after an horrific attack left a police officer with serious head injuries.

Dale Francis Cheetham, then 22 and of no fixed abode, admitted seriously assaulting an officer in Doncaster on September 19 last year, along with a range of other crimes.

The police officer's injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening.

Cheetham repeatedly struck the officer about the head after snatching his handcuffs and using them as a weapon against him.

In February, two Sheffield police officers were assaulted while dealing with an altercation at a house in Netherfield Road, Crookes.