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Police chiefs order urgent review into officer safety

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said nothing was more important ‘than protecting our people so they can effectively protect the public’.

A police officer arranges flowers left near the scene where Thames Valley Police officer Pc Andrew Harper died (PA)
A police officer arranges flowers left near the scene where Thames Valley Police officer Pc Andrew Harper died (PA)

By Flora Thompson, PA Home Affairs Correspondent

Police chiefs will carry out an urgent review into the safety of officers.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) commissioned the inquiry on behalf of all chief constables when they met on Monday to discuss the rise in attacks on officers and the latest string of serious incidents.

It came after the death of Pc Andrew Harper in the line of duty on August 15 while responding to a burglary in Berkshire.

Last month the NPCC called on senior police officers from across the country to gather for the summit to discuss what could be done to protect officers.

This followed the news that two forces – Durham and Northamptonshire – were set to allow every frontline officer who wanted a Taser to carry one on duty.

The review will hear from officers about their experiences and gather “all available evidence and research”.

It will focus on:

– Training;

– Equipment;

– Deployment;

– Investigations into officer assaults and the support available afterwards;

– The response from the criminal justice system and the extent of which it is providing a sufficient deterrent.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said the work would be carried out “at pace” because “nothing is more important to chiefs than protecting our people so they can effectively protect the public”.

He added: “Officers should not have to face assault but we know there are risks in standing up to criminals and protecting our communities. Training, teamwork and public support gives them the confidence to face those risks.

“I am determined this work will provide considered recommendations on what more we can do to protect our frontline staff, respond as effectively as possible if they are assaulted and push for justice to be done.”

Charlie Hall, the chief constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary, will lead the review with the College of Policing.

The Police Federation, Police Superintendents’ Association, Unison and the Association of Special Constabulary Officers will also be invited to contribute to the review.

A report will be presented in November.

PA

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