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Assaults on us are ‘not part of the job’ says Sussex Police as figures show 16% rise in attacks on officers

On the day that figures were released showing that assaults on officers in Sussex have risen by 16 per cent over the last four years, three officers were attacked in Brighton and Hove with two hospitalised as a result of their injuries.



Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner has said that such assaults must never be seen as ‘part of the job’.

She said: “Working for the police can be a dangerous and unpredictable job and every day our brave officers and staff work hard, often in difficult and challenging circumstances, to keep people safe.

“Being assaulted while they are doing that is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as part of the job.”

In the last four years, assaults on officers in Sussex have risen by 16 per cent with 1,033 being recorded in 2018/19 – an average of three a day. Of these, 288 resulted in injuries and included kicks, punches, scratches and bruising, through to more serious incidents such as dislocations, fractures and concussion. Additionally, officers are regularly subjected to being spat at, which in many cases leads to them having to undergo a worrying wait following HIV and hepatitis tests.

On Thursday evening (August 15), two officers attended an address in Hove to conduct a welfare check where suspected ‘cuckooing’ was taking place. They were both attacked, with one of them being punched several times to the head, resulting in concussion. He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where he remained overnight. During the fracas, his colleague’s knee was dislocated and she was also taken to hospital, where the injury is to be assessed for a suspected hairline fracture.

A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent and remained in custody on Friday lunchtime.

Elsewhere in the city, a wanted man was spotted walking in New Road on Thursday morning. While he was being detained, he allegedly became aggressive and abusive.

A 35-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of common assault of an emergency worker, assault by beating of an emergency worker, a racially aggravated public order offence and failing to appear in court. He also remained in custody on Friday.

DCC Shiner continued:

“Since 2017 we have worked with the Police Federation, the Superintendents’ Association and Unison to get a better picture of how many officers are being assaulted as many were just shrugging off minor and sometimes more serious incidents and not reporting them.

“Every day officers go out on the frontline to protect the public and this often means helping them at times when they are going through or find themselves in challenging or difficult situations. While distressing, this does not give anyone the right to physically or verbally assault our officers or staff. If anyone in force is assaulted while on duty the impact can be both physically and psychologically significant. Not only is that individual affected, but also their team and their family.

“While assaults on officers and staff do occur, we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce these. However, when they do happen, we will do all that we can to support those affected.

“We believe a significant majority of the public would also support that message and hope that an assault on any emergency worker will be seen as the crime that it is and completely unacceptable.”

Matt Webb, chair of the Sussex Police Federation, said:

“Every day my members, the rank and file officers of Sussex Police, go out to serve our communities, to protect the vulnerable and to prevent harm. An assault on any one of them is an assault on society and should never be seen as part of the job. No other profession would be expected to accept such an attitude; and neither should we.

“We continue to work closely with the Force to ensure when these incidents occur individuals are supported and seen as the ‘victims of crime’ that they are. We have taken huge steps forward in this area in recent years and will continue to work together to improve the situation further.

“For a number of years we have lobbied for greater protection for police officers, and others, and last year saw The Assaults on Emergency Service Workers Bill gain Royal Ascent and become law – giving magistrates greater sentencing powers. However, there remains work to be done to ensure that offenders are always charged with the correct offence, the offence that reflects the level of the assault, to ensure proportionate and appropriate sentencing powers are available to the courts. It can never be right, especially when officers are seriously injured, that offenders are back on the streets before the officers are.”


Grab your headset and help someone in their time of need across Sussex

Today sees the launch of Sussex Police’s latest round of contact officer recruitment.



When the going gets tough, contact officers are there to help. Whether it’s taking a report of a missing person, responding to a burglary or supporting someone in crisis, our contact officers play a vital role in helping keep our communities safe, identifying and protecting the most vulnerable and preventing harm.

Chief Superintendent Paul Betts who leads the Force Control and Command Centre (FCCCD) said:

“We were thrilled with the response to our recruitment campaign earlier this year and are delighted to reopen again today. Our contact officers are an integral part of our front-line, supporting us as we keep Sussex safe and feeling safe, and our recent recruitment has allowed us to provide a better service to the public already.”

“Our contact officers are the essential calm reassurance in someone’s time of need. Whether it’s receiving a call from the scene of a road traffic accident, taking details of a missing person from a concerned relative or responding to online reports of crime; our contact officers are empathetic, supportive and informative.

“It’s a challenging role, no two enquiries are the same, yet it’s one which offers a great sense of pride as we help make a difference, together.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:

“Contact handlers are the first port of call for people reporting crimes and needing urgent police help, so they need great listening skills, empathy, professionalism and patience. Fortunately Sussex Police continues to receive a very high standard of applicants wanting to join the team and I am sure the next intake will be no different.

“These are essential, unique and fulfilling roles within Sussex Police and I look forward to meeting the new contact handlers once they have been recruited and their training starts.”

Being a contact officer is not your typical nine to five call centre role, ideally you’ll need to be able to work shifts; including nights, weekends and bank holidays. Flexible working is available Monday through to Sunday, from 08:00 to 13:00, or as a job share on the full shift pattern.

You will deal with emergency 999 calls, non-emergency 101 calls, online reporting and social media. Asking the right questions, making threat and risk assessments, listening for vital details and recording information; all while monitoring two screens are vital skills. You will need to be patient, decisive, dynamic and compassion to provide the very best service to the public.

Those who are interested in a career within our FCCCD as a contact officer are encouraged to attend one of the recruitment tours being held at Police Headquarters (Lewes) throughout the application window. You can book a place on a tour here,

Chief Superintendent Betts added:

“If you want to know what life is truly like as a contact officer, then we invite you to come and experience it first-hand on one of our behind the scenes tours. You’ll get to listen into some of the calls you could deal with and meet some of the people who work in the contact and command centre. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out if you’ve got what it takes to work in this demanding, yet incredibly fulfilling roles.”

As the first point of contact for many, engaging with people of all ages and backgrounds, we’re looking for those who can build rapport quickly, show empathy and communicate clearly at all times. Enquiries can include some of the most difficult situations you can think of so compassion and resilience are also important. If you can work under pressure, problem-solve and think quickly then this could be the career for you.

To apply, visit their website

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