A ZERO tolerance approach will be taken on criminals who choose to attack officers - after bosses admitted a recent rise in cases had been reported across Barnsley.
The warning comes after 32-year-old Kane Taylor, from Monk Bretton, was jailed for ten months for attacking two female PCs while they were on duty and 38-year-old Dean Watson, also of Monk Bretton, was sentenced a year in prison for spitting at two officers and threatening and racist behaviour.
Temporary Chief Superintendent Sarah Poolman told the Chronicle that since last November, there’s been an average of four related incidents per month - but the figure trebled to 12 in both September and October.
“They do fluctuate and one incident could involve several officers, but we’re hopeful that our work to prosecute the two recent offenders will result in figures stabilising,” she added.
“It is unacceptable but it’s important to add that we do not treat assaults on our officers any differently to how we would a member of the public being a victim.
“Often our job involves walking into confrontational situations, whether that’s an ongoing fight or a domestic, and we show up and use appropriate techniques.”
Taylor, who was witnessed driving a car ‘erratically’ on Lamb Lane in the village at about 2am on November 26, was stopped by two female officers.
At Barnsley Magistrates’ Court last week, prosecutors said that Taylor laid on top of an officer and forced his fingers into her eyes - while she lay on the floor - and struck her colleague across the face.
Taylor pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating of an emergency worker, taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, driving without insurance, driving while disqualified and failing to provide a specimen of breath.
Watson was first arrested on May 5 on Cheapside, Barnsley town centre, after reports of threatening and racist behaviour.
He was arrested again in the town centre on October 5 while intoxicated and was taken to Barnsley Hospital, where he spat at two officers.
Upon release he will be subject to a criminal behaviour order (CBO) for three years, meaning he cannot enter the public space protection order (PSPO) area of Barnsley town centre, or sit or lie on the ground in any public place in the borough.
Temp Chf Supt Poolman ruled out the force moving away from its standard protocol of sometimes having two female officers in one patrol car.
She added: “Taylor’s case in particular was horrific - as soon as he was stopped he became aggressive, misogynistic and effectively thought that because he’d been stopped by two female PCs, he was strong enough to take them on.
“However, it’s entirely normal for the police to have two females patrolling and our teams are not formed on a gender basis, so we have no plans to alter this.
“Levels of experience and how officers work together is more important for a team’s make-up and I wouldn’t want to move away from that because of several horrendous incidents.”
An internal probe is expected to begin at South Yorkshire Police, which will see force bosses outline plans to reduce rising cases of attacks on its officers which rose by 13 per cent in 2018/19, according to official figures.
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley added: “Our officers come to work every day and consistently demonstrate their commitment and dedication to serving their local communities and keeping people safe.
“No officer should face violence in the course of their duties and we’re doing all we can to prevent our officers being assaulted.
“We have absolutely zero tolerance for individuals who choose to be violent towards our officers and will work to bring individuals before the courts.”