Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Forces lose 400 days to attacks

Police on patrol (generic)
More than 150 days were lost in the Dyfed-Powys force area

Police forces in Wales lost more than 400 working days to assaults on their officers between 2007-08, according to the latest official figures.

Dyfed-Powys Police lost 154 days, compared to 133 for North Wales Police and 122 for Gwent Police.

Days lost in the South Wales force area were not available in time for a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, which collated figures.

Thirty-four forces in England and Wales lost a total of 15,338 days.

The Home Office said attacks on police officers were "totally unacceptable" and would not be tolerated.

But two Powys MPs have urged the UK Government to do more to ensure the safety of officers.

'Zero tolerance'

Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, said: "Police officers are clearly not being provided with the protection that they need to do their jobs.

"Current measures are clearly not effective enough as days are lost because of attacks on Dyfed-Powys Police officers."

Fellow Powys MP Lembit Opik, who represents Montgomeryshire, added: "There must be zero tolerance on attacks, abuse and threats of violence and this means prosecuting the offenders and putting them through the courts.

"The government must do more to ensure the safety of police officers in what is already a very challenging working environment."

A Home Office spokesman said attacks on police would not be tolerated.

'Devastation'

He added: "Emergency workers put their lives at risk day in day out to serve our communities and it is our duty to ensure the law protects them.

"Violence against emergency workers can be dealt with under existing laws, and sentencing guidelines already stipulate that the court should impose tougher sentences for offences committed against public sector workers.

"The Government is determined to reduce the devastation caused by violent crime and are doing everything we can through legislation, enforcement and community work to prevent it."

The Metropolitan Police lost the most so-called "officer days" to assault (5,848).

They were followed by West Midlands (1,166), Northumbria (1,075) and Greater Manchester (832).

The figures were released in a written parliamentary answer from Policing, Crime and Security Minister Vernon Coaker MP.



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