TWO Coventry police officers who had blood spat in their mouths in a disgusting assault are in Parliament today to help launch a national police safety campaign.
PCs Alan O’Shea and Mike Bruce will share details of the assault and how it impacted their lives.
The duo were arresting two men in a city pub when one spat blood in their faces and mouths.
They then had to face agonising six-month wait to find out if they had contracted HIV or hepatitis.
Today they will help launch the Protect The Protectors campaign, which has been organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales in response to a growing number of attacks on police officers.
The campaign will call for tougher sentences for those who assault emergency service workers; better training and access to equipment such as Tasers, body worn video and spit guards; as well as more accurate data on police assaults and improved welfare support.
Tom Cuddeford, interim chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, which represents the Force’s constables, sergeants and inspecting ranks, said: “We have become increasingly concerned about the number of incidents in which police officers are being assaulted as they go about their duties.
“We are supporting this national campaign in the hope that more will be done to protect police officers, police staff and other emergency service personnel.
“It seems to have almost become an accepted part of their job but it should not be.
“An attack on a police officer is an attack on society and those who carry out these assaults should face harsh sentences.”
Assaults include offenders struggling to get free, wrestling, hitting, kicking or spitting at officers.
Since January 1 this year, 60 officers have been assaulted in the West Midlands force area – with 35 per cent of those attacks involving spitting.
And between April 1 and the end of December 2016 there were 606 incidents with 16 per cent involving spitting.
But West Midlands Police Federation believes there is a problem with under-reporting with some officers simply not submitting details of the attacks.
It also points to inconsistencies of the data recording of assaults leading it to call for one single system where all police assaults can be recorded.
Nationally, and at a local level, the Police Federation’s Parliamentary Working Group has raised serious concerns
around police assaults.
Calum Macleod, vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, added: “The campaign will develop in earnest, not only to call for the Government and the Sentencing Council to do more to safeguard public servants in the line of duty, but to show the realities of policing and what officers have to endure in their own words, through a series of hard-hitting videos and case study material.”