Hampshire police have seen a rise in the number of assaults on officers new figures have shown.

Government statistics show a total of 1,241 police constables in Hampshire were assaulted in the year 2019/20 compared to 1,176 in 2018/19.

Over 380 these assaults left officers with an injury of some sort.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said: “The increase is concerning but sadly not a surprise.

“I think there has been a lot of negative press about the police which has possibly fuelled some of the situations that we have seen where the police are being assaulted.

“The reduction of the number of police officers over the past 10 years or so definitely hasn’t helped.”

Zoe has been a frontline police officer for nearly 26 years and claims that she has seen a ‘change’ in the level of violence that police officers face.

She believes harsher sentences are needed to tackle the problem.

“We need the judges and the magistrates to use their power to impose better sentences to send the right message that assaulting police officers and other emergency workers is not acceptable.

“I don’t understand why there is so much negativity towards us because we do a very difficult job and we are doing our best.

“Yes there are a few bad apples, but there are in any organisation and the vast majority of police officers are out there putting their lives at risk every day and we don’t deserve the constant negativity.”.

Nationally 30,000 police officers were assaulted in the year 2019/20 which is an increase of three percent from the previous year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she is well aware of the growing need to tackle violence against blue light workers and has vowed to double the maximum sentences available to two years.

Any legislation would follow the 2018 Protect the Protectors Bill which saw the sentencing power of the courts go from six months to a year in prison.