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October 16, 2008

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Call for training and PPE to stem violence against police

Better training and PPE — including stab vests — is needed to counter a rising tide of violence against police staff, warns Unison.

The trade union is demanding a crackdown on physical abuse of police workers after new statistics showed that almost three-quarters of police custody staff have been threatened with physical violence — with 22 per cent needing medical treatment following an attack.

Other high-risk jobs highlighted by the union’s survey include forensic services, police community support officers, police station inquiry clerks, and traffic wardens.

Unison’s national officer for police staff, Ben Priestley, said: “Because of the nature of the Police service, staff will come up against some pretty hard, and sometimes dangerous, characters. It’s hardly surprising that members come in for abuse and even violence, however, that risk can be reduced if staff are given the right training and equipment to protect themselves, the public, and other members of staff.”

He continued: “Employers have a duty of care towards their staff and it’s clear that some forces are failing in that duty. The survey shows significant staff shortages in every area where violence is prevalent, and this must have an impact on the safety of remaining staff.”

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