Sussex Police has revealed that 16 of their officers were assaulted on Christmas Day alone.
As millions of households around the country sat down to enjoy their Christmas dinners, thousands of first responders were at work, trying to keep the country safe and their respective communities safe.
The shocking figures released by Sussex Police are particularly concerning when you consider how many officers are paraded with each local 999 response team.
Often, only a handful of officers will be expected to cover relatively large areas. And with so many officers being injured, taking them off of the road would have undoubtedly hampered local police response times.
Many first responders have been working extended tours of duty over the festive period, as they risk their own exposure to COVID to try and keep the general public safe.
Speaking on Boxing Day about the shocking figures to come out of Sussex, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said:
“Over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen at least 16 police officers assaulted while on duty across Sussex.
“This is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.
“Each one of these officers has sacrificed spending Christmas with their loved ones to protect the public and catch criminals, only to be on the receiving end of offences committed by a small number of individuals.
“We are fortunate to have committed police officers who signed up to protect vulnerable people and make our towns and communities a safer place; they did not sign up to be assaulted, insulted or abused.
“While the vast majority of people in Sussex are fully supportive of our officers and our force, there is a small minority who seem to think the law does not apply to them.
“We know things are tough at the moment, especially during the festive season, but we’re all in this together.
“Whatever the circumstances, there is absolutely no excuse to assault a police officer, and anyone found guilty of committing such an offence will be dealt with robustly.”
Assaults on officers on Christmas Day included spitting, kicking, punching and biting, while one officer suffered a dislocated shoulder.
Of the 16 incidents recorded, 12 occurred in West Sussex and four occurred in Brighton and Hove.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and the CPS have repeatedly said that they will come down hard on anyone who assaults an emergency worker.
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