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‘More Tasers needed after police attack surge’

The latest UK police assault figures are the highest in nine years.
The latest UK police assault figures are the highest in nine years.

The police union has called for  more officers to be armed with Tasers after more than 400 attacks on officers in Lancashire last year.

There were 418 assaults recorded between last April and this March, with 144 causing injury, according to figures released by the Home Office. It is the first time injuries to officers have been recorded separately.

Rachel Hanley, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation.

Rachel Hanley, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation.

Rachel Hanley (inset), chairman of the Lancashire police of the Police Federation, said just one attack would be too many. “Officer numbers have drastically reduced since the start of the austerity measures,” she said.

“This is leaving officers more vulnerable on the front line as officers are often single crewed [in cars and vans alone].

“We believe, as the representative body for police officers, that Tasers should be rolled out to a wider group of officers so they have the correct equipment to protect both themselves and the public.”

Ms Hanley also welcomed a new law, set to be introduced later this year, aimed at protecting emergency service workers, saying it was “absolutely right” it is “passed into law”.

When brought in – it has gone through three readings in Parliament and is now waiting for the Royal Asset before becoming law – it will see sentences handed out to attackers doubled.

Ms Hanley said: “We need the support of the judicial system to ensure offences against those that are entrusted with the safety of our communities, are themselves protected from violent individuals.”

In late 2016, PC Pete Lucas was stabbed by William Ashton, who had been reported missing, in Cleveleys. Ashton, formerly of Briarwood Drive, Blackpool, was later detained under the mental health act.

PC Lucas recovered and won a bravery gong.