OPINION: Kevin Moore, Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Sussex Police

Many of you will have seen the communications from Sussex Police and Chief Constable Jo Shiner specifically regarding the fact that 16 police officers were assaulted on Christmas Day across the county.

On what should be one of the quietest days of the year, that is 16 individuals assaulted just trying to do their best to serve the public on this the most special day of the year.

Those figures are simply appalling! It is completely unacceptable for these instances to have occurred and there cannot be any excuse for this sort of behaviour.

I am sure that there will be those that will argue that these actions are the result of frustration connected to the COVID-19 pandemic or Brexit or a wealth of other issues faced by us all.

However, we need to stop accepting such explanations and start to behave like decent citizens.

Fairly recently, legislation was introduced to enable courts to hand out stiffer sentences to those individuals guilty of behaving in this way. However, there has been precious little evidence that the courts have used these additional powers in any significant or meaningful way.

To those who argue that prison doesn’t work I say this. To me that doesn’t matter in cases such as this. It is all about punishment in my view and nothing to do with so called rehabilitation.

There can be no justification whatsoever for assaulting an emergency service worker and we need to stop “pussy footing” around and let those responsible know that this sort of behaviour will not be accepted and that those responsible can expect to be severely punished!

It seems to me, taking into account the paltry sentences handed out to those responsible for killing PC Andrew Harper that the judiciary it is various forms are failing in their responsibility to carry out their roles correctly. Enough is enough in my view.

Can I suggest therefore that we all write to our MPs urging them to put pressure on the Home Secretary and the Criminal Justice Department to ensure that the courts hand out the stiffer sentences available to them for any assault carried out upon an emergency service worker.

If I had my way a prison sentence would be mandatory!