Sussex Police officer, Sgt Alec Barrett, fell victim to a brutal assault while trying to protect a member of the public in Brighton.
As he intervened to break up a fight, he was viciously attacked, resulting in severe injuries including a broken eye socket and nose.
Shockingly, his cowardly attacker has walked free from court with a suspended sentence.
This incident highlights an alarming trend of emergency workers facing increasingly violent assaults in Brighton and Hove, with a staggering 155 assaults recorded in the last 12 months.
Sgt Barrett was attempting to break up a fight and protect the victim of an assault when cowardly Jonathan Beauchamp approached him from behind and delivered a running punch to his face.
Beauchamp then struck Sgt Barrett several more times, causing severe injuries.
Sgt Barrett was left with a concussion, a broken eye socket leading to bleeding in his sinuses, a broken nose, and damage to his cheek.
The shocking attack is just one in a series of assaults on emergency workers in Brighton and Hove.
According to the city council’s website, there were 155 assaults on emergency workers from March 2022 to March 2023.
Paramedics bore the brunt of these attacks, with 57 assaults, followed by firefighters (58) and other emergency workers, including police officers and social workers (40).
These assaults ranged from common assaults, which do not cause serious injury, to more severe incidents involving weapons and even sexual assaults.
Of the 155 reported assaults, 100 resulted in a suspect being identified and arrested.
Out of these, 75 were charged with a criminal offence, leading to 60 convictions and sentences. Alarmingly, only 30 of the convicted attackers received prison sentences.
Sgt Raffaele Cioffi, Deputy Secretary of Sussex Police Federation, slammed the court’s decision as lenient and outrageous, stating,
“The Federation continues to call on the courts to do their bit and protect the protectors.
“Custodial sentences are the strongest deterrent to stop these kinds of attacks – anything less does not protect us.”
The Sussex Police Federation has called for stronger action against violent crime, urging the government to take a firm stance and demanding a change in sentencing guidelines.
Until this happens, Sgt Cioffi fears officers and the public will remain at risk.
The alarming rise in assaults on emergency workers extends beyond Brighton and Hove, with 1,322 officers assaulted in Sussex in the last year – that’s more than 25 per week and over three per day.
Across England and Wales, there were 41,221 assaults on police officers last year, a shocking 20% increase on the previous year, translating to 793 assaults per week, 113 per day, and more than four every hour.
Sgt Barrett’s experience serves as a harsh reminder of the dangers faced by emergency workers daily.
Despite the harrowing ordeal, he remains grateful for the support from his colleagues and the Federation.
However, the lenient sentence given to his attacker raises serious concerns about the safety of emergency workers and the effectiveness of the justice system in dealing with violent crime.
The data from Brighton and Hove City Council underscores the urgent need for action to address this worrying trend and protect those who put their lives on the line to serve and protect the public.
Without stronger deterrents and more severe consequences for attackers, emergency workers in Brighton, Hove, and beyond will continue to face an unacceptable level of risk as they carry out their crucial work.
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