Violent attacks against police officers are ‘now more common’

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Dame Cressida Dick said she “lost count of the number of officers I have visited in hospitals or at home, who have been badly beaten or abused”.

She hit out at armchair critics and in a dig at the Government, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said police “deserve a pay rise” adding: “I believe the public supports us.”

Dame Cressida said it is “particularly undermining” when politicians leap on social media bandwagons.

She told the Police Superintendents Association conference yesterday: “Violence, it does seem, towards officers has become more common, somehow unimaginably more accepted.

“I will not tolerate abuse of officers, or indeed anyone. But, in particular those who serve the public.

“When we know of such abuse, we will deal with it. People are quick to judge and comment on our actions, often without the detail or the facts.”

She said every day 20 officers are attacked in London, with half injured, and five are the victims of hate crimes.

In a tacit admission, the Met boss added: “I have no doubt the actual number of assaults and abuse of course, is far greater. I know it’s still under reported by officers. They do a remarkable job. And always citizens owe them a great deal of gratitude.”

Dame Cressida condemned constant criticism of officers but conceded: “Unfortunately, I do think we’re seeing some decline in the level of benefits of the doubt being shown by some to ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things.

“Not just in the police but more broadly, we are perhaps caught in a broader polarisation of views.

“We believe in evidence. And we have to give accurate facts and evidence to the public and to the courts.

“In recent months…we’ve seen quick judgment of the actions of individual officers based on a viral clip section of footage showing part of an incident or secondhand information before the full situation can possibly be known. Rushing to such judgments is dangerous. It undermines the legitimacy of policing, and it makes officers feel they need to think twice or maybe not even volunteer for the role.”

The Scotland Yard chief said criticism was particularly undermining when it came from people in public life “who ought to understand some at least of the complexity and the dangers of jumping to erroneous conclusions. The critics seem sadly increasingly politicised, forgetting all too easily when it suits them that we must be impartial.”

Dame Cressida told the superintendents: “You all will have contributed to making the police service of 2029 even better than it is today. Well-led, wellequipped, well-supported.

“It will be delivering even stronger results. It will be even more diverse. It will be just as or maybe even more scrutinised but, I pray, with more constructive understanding.”

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