THIRTEEN Essex Police officers are assaulted on duty every week, according to Government statistics.

However, Essex Police Federation said it believes the true figure of attacks on Essex Police officers – listed as 666 over the past financial year by the Home Office – is actually much higher due to some officers not reporting incidents.

Steve Taylor, chairman of the federation, encouraged all officers to let the force know when they are assaulted on duty otherwise assaults on officers risk being relegated to second-degree crimes.

Mr Taylor said: “The reality, I think, would show that that number is far higher.

“I think we need a bit of a cultural change. It’s not acceptable to be assaulted in the execution of your duties.

“If we’re not completing ‘use of force’ forms, and the forms for officers who are assaulted, if we’re not taking the time to do those properly, we don’t get an accurate picture of what that level of assault looks like.

“This means when we come to make the argument for better equipment, better training, better policies, we don’t have the data to support it.

“Having been assaulted at work, you’re a victim of crime yourself, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to take the easy option because we’re so pushed for time.

“It’s not fair on us, and ultimately it’s not fair on the public.”

Earlier this year, the Echo reported how more than three police officers are assaulted every week across south Essex.

Since April 2016 and March 2017, Essex Police has recorded 171 assaults against officers in the execution of their duty across Southend, Basildon, Castle Point and Rochford.

Officers in Southend recorded the most assaults at 70. There were 60 in Basildon and 41 across Castle Point and Rochford.

Mr Taylor’s message to members is simple. He said: “Anytime you are assaulted, report it.”