More than 1,000 Thames Valley Police (TVP) officers have been assaulted in the last year, leading to calls for tougher sentences for offenders.

According to Government statistics, 1,101 police officers were assaulted last year in the Thames Valley - the equivalent of more than 21 a week or three a day.

That number appears to be rising too – in the four weeks to March 2021 there was a 19 per cent increase in the number of assaults on emergency workers compared to the same period in 2020.

Despite the increase in offences - which included offenders spitting on officers while claiming to have COVID-19 - police figures have revealed their frustration at what they consider to be “lenient” sentences for those found guilty, and that short sentences have a “demoralising” effect on officers.

Craig O’Leary, chair of the Thames Valley Police Federation, said: “Light sentencing really affects officers.

“It’s demoralising for that officer who is left feeling pretty worthless by the menial sentence that’s handed out, but it also destroys the wider morale of police officers across the country.

“When we see these things highlighted in the media, it feels like a bit of a slap in the face for police officers up and down the country.”

Earlier this month, the BFP covered the sentencing of David Stanley, aged 28, of Radclive Road in Buckingham, who pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm and assault by beating of a police officer, after he bit an officer while he was attempting to arrest him.

Stanley avoided jail for his crimes, with the judge giving him a suspended sentence, she told him this was his “last opportunity” to turn his life around.

In January, Connor Goring, of Leaberry in Milton Keynes was given a 19-week suspended sentence for assault by beating of a police officer and possession of a bladed article – an axe – in public.

Fortunately for officers, these "menial" sentences may soon be a thing of the past.

New sentencing guidelines for assaults on emergency workers have been created, and are due to come into force on Thursday, July 1, which will see the maximum sentence increased.

Mr O’Leary added: “It’s an appalling thing to see the numbers (of assaults on officers) keep increasing and we can all do more to try and work harder to prevent this – but ultimately the sanctions lie with the judiciary and we need to ensure that they are handing down sterner sentences for those that choose to assault emergency workers.”