A POLICE chief who was kicked in the face just days before her birthday has praised plans to double the jail sentence for people who attack officers.

Zoe Wakefield was left with a black eye when she was kicked two days before her birthday during a historical assault.

With more than 25 years as a police officer, she took up her position as the first female Chair of Hampshire Police Federation on Monday.

The 47-year-old has since approved government proposals to double the maximum jail term for criminals who assault emergency workers to two years.

It would be the second time in two years that the sentence has been doubled after the law was changed in 2018 to bring the maximum sentence to 12 months.

Romsey Advertiser:

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the consultation sends “a clear and simple message to the vile thugs who assault our emergency workers” that they will not get away with such “appalling behaviour”.

Ms Wakefield said: “It’s good that she is looking to double it [sentencing]. It is a shame that the previous increase does not appear to have had any impact. I think assaults have even gone up. There was definitely a spike with spitting incidents during the coronavirus lockdown. I think it is a growing issue across the board which appears to be worse in areas where we see more crime. You would struggle to find an officer who has not been assaulted.”

Ms Wakefield told the Daily Echo how she was kicked in the face while on duty.

She added: “It’s horrible. It’s awful. It is not a nice thing to happen. You have to go home and explain to your children why you have a black eye. You know you’re going to face risks but you should not expect to be assaulted. It’s completely unacceptable.”

Romsey Advertiser:

The Conservatives pledged in their 2019 election manifesto to consult on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting workers in emergency services.

The Ministry of Justice said that more than 11,000 people were prosecuted for assaulting an emergency worker in 2019. A quarter of those found guilty received a suspended sentence or immediate custody.

Commenting, Priti Patel said: “Our police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers go above and beyond every single day. They are our frontline heroes who put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe, and yet some despicable individuals still think it’s acceptable to attack, cough or spit at these courageous.” public servants.”