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Fewer PCs in Swindon injured in line of duty
POLICE officers in Swindon and Wiltshire are suffering fewer injuries on duty than in previous years due to improvements in training and equipment.
Wiltshire Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley said the number of injuries has decreased over the past three years.
He said: “We have far better protection nowadays with the personal protection equipment, the incapacitatant spray, the body armour and the radio equipment, which makes it easier to call for assistance.
“Wiltshire is a safe county compared to more urban areas which are more difficult to police and it is not a dangerous place.
“We do go out 24/7 and come across people who want to get involved in fights and want to fight the police.
“We do on occasions, when we are on duty, get hurt.
“Fortunately serious injuries are very, very rare.”
Wiltshire Police collates health and safety figures for officers injured every month, which show the majority suffer cuts, bruises and abrasions.
The data shows PCs have been struck while on duty and, in more unusual cases, hurt by animals and hit by cars.
But Mr Hedley said the majority of assaults had been carried out by drinkers on Friday and Saturday nights, and that the number had gone down in recent years.
Other hazards officers encounter include coming into contact with needles and other sharp instruments during searches of suspects.
But procedures have also been put into place to guard against this.
Mr Hedley said: “We have body armour, our training is better, our equipment is better and we have Tasers.
“This means we don’t have to get up close and personal with people when we need to detain them.
“All these things mean the figures for officers getting injured are decreasing rather than getting worse, which is fortunate.”
Figures from September last year – the most recent records available – show officers suffered assaults while on duty.
Female and male PCs received injuries including concussion, bruising, cuts and abrasions and lacerations.