More than 200 assaults on police

ASSAULTS on police officers in Suffolk are the highest in six years according to police authority reports.More than 200 officers were assaulted in the county in the year 2004/2005 compared to 189 in 2003/2004 and 169 in 2002/2003.

ASSAULTS on police officers in Suffolk are the highest in six years according to police authority reports.

More than 200 officers were assaulted in the county in the year 2004/2005 compared to 189 in 2003/2004 and 169 in 2002/2003.

With just over 1,300 officers in the force, about one in six (15.5 per cent) have experienced some form of assault.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said an assault on an officer can be defined as anything which prevents him or her executing their duties and includes holding onto an officer's arm to resist arrest.

The force also reported a 16 per cent increase in the number of accidents in 2004/2005 compared with the previous year, with 299 employees of the constabulary involved in accidents ranging from strikes by vehicles to exposure to substances.

Alistair McWhirter, chief constable of Suffolk police, said the increase may be due to better recording procedures or higher establishment figures.

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He said: "The risk levels of many areas of police work are very high, but serious injuries are usually, thankfully, uncommon.

"Six major injuries were recorded during the last year, as opposed to 43 three-day injuries (where three or more days of work are lost) and 431 minor injuries.

"Tragically, one fatality at work was also recorded as a result of an officer suffering a heart attack during personal safety training."

The force's health and safety management report reveals that 207 officers were assaulted last year compared with a low of 143 in 2000/2001.

It also records the types of incidents which resulted in injury, the majority of which were assaults.

In the last two years, one employee has been injured as a result of exposure to fire, while another was injured in an explosion.

More common causes of injury include falls and lifting injuries.

The majority of injuries were minor and few required hospital treatment.

Suffolk compared favourably with similar forces such as Norfolk and Northamptonshire, with fewer accidents per 100 officers.

But the number of assaults per 100 police officers in the county was slightly higher than in similar forces elsewhere.

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