Black Lives Matter and climate change protests blamed for rising attacks on police

Around 80 police officers are assaulted every day in the UK, new figures suggest, as one Chief Constable blamed Black Lives Matter and climate change protests for the rise in attacks.

Detailed data gathered between March and June this year revealed that there were 7,357 recorded assaults against police officers.

However, the figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests only covered 31 out of the country’s 43 police forces, suggesting the true figure could be even higher.

Nick Dean, the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, which has seen a 121 per cent increase in the number of assaults in the past year, said officers were increasingly having to deal with people suffering from mental health issues.

He also said protests across the country had led to more violence against his officers.

Chief Constable: Assaults on police are unacceptable

"People are suffering much more from mental health and wellbeing issues, which have clearly increased during the lockdown, and the restrictive periods and in society in general," he said.

"I think the opening up of the night-time economy with drugs and alcohol prevalent within that environment is also an issue of why we’ve seen an increase.

"We’ve equally seen, as we can’t hide from the media, in terms of protest activity and the number of protests we’ve seen in the capital and in major cities, or indeed here in Cambridgeshire, has increased dramatically.

"Since restrictions (were first imposed) we’ve seen other protests around climate change, Black Lives Matter – all of which put us at the forefront of managing large events with the potential of confrontation.

"The nature of assault can really range from very serious to what we can class as lower-tier assaults such as being pushed or kicked, or what is very prevalent – being spat at. None of that, at any level, is acceptable within policing."

Police prepare to remove an Extinction Rebellion climate change protester, who had glued his hand to the wall of the London Stock Exchange

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

The forces which saw the biggest increase in officer assaults this year from 2020, after Cambridgeshire, were Dorset Police with an 80% rise, Merseyside Police at 41%, Avon and Somerset Police with 40%.

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