While ‘becoming a police officer does subject you to a high level of personal violence, this should NEVER be accepted as normal’.
That was the message from Ulster Unionist Justice spokesperson Doug Beattie as he gave his support to calls by the Police Federation to introduce legislation to make assaulting a police officer an offence that carries a mandatory custodial sentence.
The Upper Bann MLA said, “To some casual onlookers an assault on a police officer undertaking their duties is a daily part of life which those who join the PSNI should simply accept as a hazard of the job. However, although becoming a police officer does subject you to a high level of personal violence, this should NEVER be accepted as normal.
“Any attack on a public servant, be that a nurse, teacher, paramedic or firefighter is abhorrent, but it is our police service that are called to assist with all such incidents and more besides, putting them very much in the firing line.”
He added, “It is the role of the police service to protect life and property and in doing so they put themselves in extreme danger.”
Supporting the call for legislation he conluded, “I call on the Northern Ireland Executive to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity and with a meeting previously organised between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Justice Minister in late August, I will be asking her to explore how this can be delivered.”