Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC calls for more protection for frontline officers after C5 documentary

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is backing the Force’s front-line police officers following the broadcast of Channel 5’s “Police Code Zero: Officer Under Attack” - featuring an incident involving two Bedfordshire officers - as figures show that on average in the UK a police officer is attacked every 20 minutes.

The programme showed the officers being assaulted while on duty in Silver Street, Bedford, in January, as they dealt with a drunk and abusive man in possession of a knife, who had been ejected from a pub, late on a Saturday night. The man who assaulted them pleaded guilty at court to two counts of assault on a police officer and was fined £120, while the officers received victim surcharge payments of £50 and £75 respectively, designed to be paid by those responsible for a crime.

“The programme showed the stark reality of what our police officers are facing on the streets of Bedfordshire every single day and it’s wholly unacceptable. In my view, an attack on a police officer is not the same as an assault on any other member of the public, because the police are standing on the front-line between those who keep the law and those who want to undermine it. That’s why an attack on an officer should be met with the toughest penalty possible,” said Commissioner Holloway.

PC Hayley Hunter, who was one of the officers assaulted, said: “It is only afterwards, when the adrenaline has worn off and you play things over in your mind that you think, ‘Wow, what did I just go through? Could he have used that knife against us?'

“I don’t think it mattered to him that I was wearing a uniform, or that I was a woman.”

“I know Hayley well and the bitter irony of this assault is that, as a member of the Community Cohesion Team, she is out in our county every working day building better relationships and trust in policing. Awards of less than £100 as compensation after an attack like this, and that on Hayley’s colleague, are derisory.

“It’s why I called on a cross party basis for support for extending the prison term for assaulting an officer in the execution of their duty last year. Since this is now still only a year, despite a change in the law, it’s still wholly insufficient in my view,” said Commissioner Holloway.

In November, the PCC won a Home Office Special Grant for £4.571m to cover the unprecedented cost of fighting gang, gun and knife crime in Bedfordshire.

Commissioner Holloway said: "Policing is facing more severe demand than ever before. Our officers do an incredibly difficult job and I wouldn't be doing my own if I didn’t consider the protection of our officers, in order to protect the public, as an absolute priority.

“It's a stated priority in my Police and Crime Plan to look after our officers to the best of my ability, otherwise, how can they be expected to be able to protect people and fight crime across this county. It’s why I’ve had discussions with our judges about penalties in their courts and am seeking to do likewise with our magistrates."