THE number of Thames Valley Police (TVP) officers being assaulted has rocketed by 33 per cent in the past year.

Statistics from the government reveal that officers were attacked 1,057 times in 2018 to 2019 – working out at roughly 20 assaults every week.

The year before, police officers had been assaulted only 794 times – 263 fewer strikes.

Read also: Countryfile Live 'likely to leave Blenheim Palace' after deluge of complaints

The rise has led to TVP being ranked sixth worst of the 40 forces across the country for violence against officers.

The surge in the attacks has prompted a response from the Thames Valley Police Federation group, which represents police officers.

It is now calling for tougher, custodial sentences on those who attack officers, saying ‘it shouldn’t be part of the job’.

The figures released by Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Thames Valley Police officers were injured 198 times in 2018/19.

See more from Thames Valley Police:

The other 859 assaults did not cause injury but federation secretary Mark McIntyre said ‘people are still getting away with it’.

He said: “Being assaulted isn’t part of the job.

“We still have a way to go to convince others in the criminal justice world that this is the case. It’s likely to be a slow journey, but it must start somewhere.

“It’s time for the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service to get firm with offenders that assault emergency workers.”

The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018 gives judges and magistrates the power to jail people who lash out at officers for up to 12 months – double the previous guidelines.

But Mr McIntyre said there was still some way to go.

Banbury Cake:

File picture of officer covered in blood

He added: “I hear colleagues who are assaulted while arresting offenders, and the offender gets off at court by claiming self-defence while being lawfully arrested. It’s just incredible.

“It’s so ridiculous it’s unbelievable, except it’s not.”

Last month this paper joined PC Pete Grantham to find out what goes on behind the scenes at TVP.

He told us: “I’ve had stitched and I’ve been punched in the face. I’ve chased after offenders and somebody has given me an ankle tap so I’ve hit the deck.

“This is the great British public, or at least some of them.”

Ed Vaizey: Policing is improving, but we still need more officers in Oxfordshire

Sergeant Neil Bouse added: “People get arrested. But penalty’s don’t really fit the crime sometimes. I’ve been kicked, spat at. I shouldn’t be assaulted for doing my job.”

Mr McIntyre also suggested that the increasing number of assault reports could be a positive sign that officers were more encouraged to report attacks.

He said: “We’re getting a true reflection now, rather than a hidden level of crime against police officers, and other emergency workers, that we weren’t previously aware of – reassurance that our members, our colleagues, feel that they now have a voice and will be heard.

“You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept the fact that sometimes we’re going to do stuff that you don’t like.”