Assaults on police officers rising with cops more likely to be attacked in one Yorkshire city

The number of assaults on police constables has risen
-Credit: (Image: Reach PLC)

Assaults on police officers have been rising - and our map shows the areas where bobbies are most likely to be attacked.

Last year there were more than 44,000 assaults on police officers in England and Wales, with one in four attacks causing injury to the officer. That was a 9% increase from around 41,000 assaults in 2022 and 48% higher than five years ago before the pandemic in 2019 when there were under 33,000 incidents.

But our map shows that police officers are far more likely to be attacked in some parts of the country than others.

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In 2023 more officers were assaulted in Birmingham than anywhere else. There were a total of 1,292 assaults on police constables recorded in Birmingham with well over half of those attacks so serious that they left the officer suffering an injury.
Leeds was next with 759 assaults on officers and then Bristol (658).

But when compared to the size of the population officers are required to police, bobbies serving in one part of the North East were more at risk than anywhere else. In the last three years, there have been 840 officer assaults in Middlesbrough, the equivalent of 566 attacks for every 100,000 of the population.

That was followed by Stevenage in Hertfordshire where there were the equivalent of 547 assaults per 100,000 population, and then Norwich (468 crimes per 100,000 population).

That excludes Westminster, where there is a much higher rate of attacks on Met Police officers when compared to the resident population - 799 assaults for every 100,000 people. But officers in Westminster are also responsible for policing extremely high numbers of tourists in addition to people who live in the London borough. The area is also often a focus for major protests.

You can see the number and rate of attacks on police constables where you live using our interactive map.

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In Yorkshire, attacks have increased in various cities. In Bradford in the year 2022, there were 582 attacks on PCs, and this rose to 597 in the year 2023. In Sheffield, the number rose significantly from 277 in 2022, to 426 in 2023. The same is said for Wakefield, where in 2022 there were 271, and in 2023, there were 307. In North Yorkshire in 2022, there were 258 attacks on police constables, and this rose to 364 in 2023.

A National Police Chiefs' Council spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of our workforce is a top priority for all police chiefs, and we are constantly listening to feedback from those on the ground. Policing is a stressful job, and officers can be exposed to some of life's most challenging situations, which is why they are specially trained to try and reduce the risk to themselves and others.

“Assaults on our frontline workers are absolutely deplorable, and what makes these figures even more unacceptable is that officers come to harm when trying to keep others and the wider community safe. These figures highlight the reality faced by many officers on a daily basis and it is only right that offenders are identified and put before the courts so they can be prosecuted.

“We recognise the challenges of the role and the impact this can have on our workforce which is why we work closely with Oscar Kilo, the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), which provides support and guidance for police forces across England and Wales to improve and build organisational wellbeing, working in conjunction with leading charities and staff associations. Managing wellbeing is an open-ended process and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure our workforce remain robust, resilient and ask for support when needed.”