Herts police promise to crack down on racial abuse of officers

Herts police have pledged to tackle racist attacks on officers.

Herts police have pledged to tackle racist attacks on officers. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans police officer faced racially motivated abuse and assaults on 15 occasions between 2019-2020.

The revelation comes as Herts police issues a warning that immediate action will be taken against anyone who thinks it is acceptable to racially abuse or assault its police officers and staff.

“Our officers work hard on the frontline, often in very challenging circumstances where they are expected to prioritise public safety above their own,” explained Asst Chf Con Matt Nicholls, the force lead for equality, diversity, and inclusion.

“To have to contend with racial abuse on a regular basis is completely unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take immediate action against anyone who behaves in this manner and will always prosecute wherever possible.

“Many of the officers who have been abused in this way are relatively young in service and joined the police to protect the public and to proudly represent their communities. They are being assaulted and abused just for doing their job and this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. To racially abuse or assault anyone is a crime and that includes police officers.”

One officer who has endured racial abuse said: “I was on routine patrol in my local neighbourhood area, trying to support my community and deal with local issues reported by members of the public, when I was verbally abused. The incident left me feeling sad and confused as to why in this current day and age, a small proportion of people feel it’s acceptable to racially abuse anyone.

"This is completely unacceptable. As officers we do not and should not come to work and experience abuse based on the colour of our skin or other protected characteristics.”

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Asst Chf Con Nicholls added: “We take all allegations of racial abuse very seriously, as it is never acceptable, regardless of a person’s profession. We work very hard in Hertfordshire to encourage people to report race/hate crime and have specialist hate crime officers in post to facilitate this and offer specialist support. We offer our own staff the same service. No one should be targeted, and these offences should not go unreported, regardless of how big or small the incident may be.

“If you racially abuse or assault any police officer or member of police staff it will be logged as a crime and investigated accordingly. You could end up with a criminal record or even serving a prison sentence.”