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Friday, 22 August 2014

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500 Cumbrian police officers hurt on front line in two years

More than 500 police officers have been injured while serving on the front line of law enforcement in Cumbria over the last two years.

POlice Steve Johnson photo
Steve Johnson

But the latest available statistics from Cumbria police show that fewer officers were injured at work last year than the year before.

In the 12 months to the end of December, 2013, the number of police officers injured while working was 235, compared to 298 in the previous year.

The figures for 2012 to 2013 show the biggest single category of injuries sustained in that year – a total of 94 – were those resulting from “handling, lifting, or carrying”.

The second biggest category was for officers assaulted during the course of their duties, with 77 incidents reported in that category.

Senior officers have pointed out that this a result of the often very physical nature of law enforcement, with those on active duty sometimes having to “manhandle” violent or and drunk individuals. Statistics also show that of the officers assaulted, 64 suffered the injury because a suspect resisted arrest.

Martin Plummer, chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, said officers in Cumbria are given good training to minimise the risks of injury and they are well supported if they are hurt at work.

He said: “Unfortunately, injury can be part of the job, and you know when you join that you will be working at the sharp end. Often the police are the first point of contact, and people expect us to deal with violent situations, often alcohol fuelled; as well as situations at A&E, domestic violence, and mental health issues.

“Figures show that over the last 12 months 12 per cent of our workload has involved a mental health issue.

“We do preventative work, trying to ensure officers are trained and equipped to deal with and deescalate situations where possible.”

Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson said: “The role of an officer can be physically and emotionally challenging and at times, due to circumstance, there is a risk of injury during the execution of their duty.

“Officers are trained in personal safety, restraint and the use of personal protective equipment and are encouraged to maintain their fitness levels.

“It’s regrettable that some officers are injured in the course of their duties but when this does happen the force has an occupational health unit that monitors and supports all officers and staff to bring them back to full health wherever they can.”

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