Last year, 80 per cent of British police officers were physically attacked whilst on the job, with officers describing assaults including being spat on and bitten, a survey has found.
The Channel 4 study, conducted for its Dispatches series, also found that of the 1,000 officers surveyed, one-third said they had suffered injury.
Ninety per cent of respondents also said that attacks are becoming more frequent, in figures reported by The Times.
Home Office statistics revealed that in 2017/18, there were 26,000 assaults against police officers, up 20 per cent over two years and up 70 per cent since 2011. Officers are being attacked on average every 20 minutes, with police calling for urgent assistance 82 times per day.
The newspaper also reported that a Freedom of Information request revealed that officers were off sick for more than a combined 500,000 days last year for mental health reasons, with 34 per cent of those forced to retire on medical grounds doing so because of problems with their mental heath.
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The Channel 4 figures emerge as a University of Cambridge study of 17,000 British police officers revealed that one in five claim to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health issue commonly associated with combat soldiers and veterans.
Neuropsychology research fellow Dr Jess Miller, who led the research, told The Telegraph: “If you put any person in a situation where they’re repeatedly abused, then cognitive function and wellbeing are going to suffer as a result.
“The most stark finding was that one in five officers and staff have some form of PTSD with 90 per cent of officers reportedly having been exposed to a traumatic incident.
“If you continually experience trauma again and again and again without resetting that stress response, that’s when the disorder kicks in.”
London attack victim PC Keith Palmer https://t.co/k6p0QqVPGE
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Police officers are not the only first responders in Britain to be experiencing rising violence in the line of duty. Trade union GMB released statistics last year revealing that 72 per cent of ambulance workers have been attacked, with staff having been left with broken bones, stab wounds, and bite marks whilst trying to discharge their duties administering medical aid.
There has also been a rise in attacks on firefighters, and two prison guards are treated by accident and emergency units in hospitals every day.
The rising violence against police comes amidst a rise in violent crime generally in the United Kingdom, and in its multicultural urban centres in particular.
Last year’s Crime Survey revealed that one in five people in England and Wales had experienced a crime, while statistics from February showed homicide at its highest rate for a decade. June figures from the Ministry of Justice revealed knife crime at a nine-year high, and fatal stabbings at their highest level since records began.
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