Increase in attacks on police last year, protection for first responders badly needed

Official Information Act figures released to NZME show there were 350 assaults on officers in the year to the end of June, 79 more than the year before. The increase in attacks have sparked calls for more legal protection for first responders to be enacted.

The assaults included officers being hit, struck or bitten or being spat at or exposed to blood. Of those assaulted, 18 ended up in hospital and 221 needed medical treatment. That was 50 more cases needing medical treatment than a year earlier.

New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball has put forward the First Responders and Prison Officers Bill, which is halfway through its first reading.

There was a lack of respect for the uniform, and it often seemed like a target, according to Mr Ball.

A line needed to be drawn in the sand to say: "If you choose to assault our first responders, you'll be punished accordingly,” he added.

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