Third of Police Officers Injured at Work

A survey commissioned by Channel 4’s dispatches has found that 80% of police officers have been physically attacked and a third injured last year.

Officers have said that last year was worse that the previous two years, and have complained of being bitten, spat on and other such assaults while working.

Dispatches research

1,000 officers were canvassed, with a third saying they had suffered an injury on duty which required medical attention and nine out of ten believing attacks on officers are becoming more frequent.

Home Office figures suggest that, on average, a police officer is attacked every 20 minutes. The statistics show that in 2017-2018 there were more than 26,000 recorded assaults on officers – a 20% increase over two years, and a 70% increase since 2011.

The survey, conducted for Channel 4 programme Officer Down: Police Under Attack, found there was a 10% increase from last year of officers calling for urgent assistance, with an average of 82 calls a day.

Freedom of information requests also found that mental health issues accounted for 34% of the officers who were forced to retire on medical grounds, and more than 500,000 sick days were taken last year by officers for mental health reasons.

Further research

Additionally, Dr Jessica Miller, neuropsychology research fellow at Cambridge University, interviewed 17,000 police officers across the UK and found that there were rising levels of anxiety among them. 

Some 43% of officers reported that exposure to traumatic incidents, including personal assaults, had heightened their sense of threat, while nearly a third had shown a tendency to avoid situations, places and people that reminded them of previous attacks.

Dr Miller said: “If you put any person in a situation where they’re repeatedly abused, then cognitive function and wellbeing are going to suffer as result.”


In response to the Dispatches research, policing minister Nick Hurd said: “We need more officers. That has been my priority, so this year, up and down the country, we’re recruiting over 3,000 more officers and staff and PCSOs.”

Further information

If you have been injured at work, contact First4Lawyers today and let our expert solicitors help you claim compensation for your injuries. Request a call back from one of our team for more information.


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