Police officers came under attack over the weekend by a large crowd near the London Eye shortly before 9pm. Officers from the Territorial Support Unit and the Dog unit came to assist and disperse a crowd who had began to hurl objects at them.
Last week riot police were called to Brixton when police came under attack as they rushed in to save a teenager who had been shot and stabbed at an unlicensed music event.
The week earlier, police officers were assaulted following a demonstration outside of a shopping centre, where protesters actually entered the Shepherds Bush shopping centre, only to be swiftly removed by police. And, let’s not forget the anti vax, anti lock down protest several weeks ago where a police lady had her head cut open by a protester who felt the need to hit a female officer for simply just doing her job.
The picture seems quite clear really. We have just entered the summer and already the level of assaults on police officers is escalating. Alongside the knife crime epidemic, assaulting police officers is becoming part of our everyday life and something the public are accustomed to seeing.
On average 19 officers a day will be assaulted on the streets of our capital. This might not seem a huge number to some but if you imagine going to work and having 19 members of your office assaulted everyday perhaps that can put things into some form of perspective for us.
The key aspect to remember here is that out of those 19 assaulted, some will be left with lasting effects be it either physically or mentally.
The next factor to remember is what these officers witness in their normal work load is actually what we would watch either in action films or tv dramas, or even worse a nightmare. With a high level of probability that these scenes will stay entrenched in these officers memories for the rest of their lives and cause them to wake up in the middle of the night with dread. Yet, these same officers will return to work and put that uniform on that is seen as a symbol of hatred for some, and go back and carry on working in our community.
Interestingly enough, working with officers as I do, I frequently insist on calling them heroes and they are all quick to tell me they aren’t really and that the reason they do the job is because they want to help people and make a difference in our community. Let’s face it, they certainly do this.
I would challenge anyone to find a more demanding role in our community today than being a police officer. One where you don’t know what will face you that day and who you will encounter on your shift.
I have witnessed officers distraught at the scenes they have witnessed, scenes that for most of us would mean serious counselling sessions to deal with it. Yet, they take it on board and carry on to the next call where someone else is in desperate need of help and the police are their only chance. I have witnessed officers run into situations that they did not know what was ahead of them, but they knew somebody needed help so they rushed to get there and save lives.
I have witnessed traffic officers patrolling a sporting event take the time to ride next to a little boy on his bike eager to ride alongside an officer and totally make his and his parents day. I have witnessed officers buy food for homeless people and help them. Where are the phone filming masses then?
The list of I have witnessed can go on and on but the bottom line is this, these officers joined to make a difference in our society, without them our society would not function. During a time when we have lost youth clubs and have lost many vital community services, the only thing that remains constant is our police force that is doing the job of many others rolled into one.
For those shrugging their shoulders reading this, perhaps a trip out with your local officers can change your perspective on policing. After all, they say you can not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.