Jail call for police officer attacks after north Wales trouble

Bangor City FC Image copyright Bangor FC
Image caption The main disturbance on Saturday happened near Bangor's Nantporth ground

Jail terms could be the only deterrent to those who attack police officers, the head of a group representing staff in north Wales has said.

It follows a weekend of problems in the Bangor area where one officer was taken to hospital and another injured, while others were kicked and spat on.

Some of the trouble was linked to rival fans clashing before a Bangor v Caernarfon football match on Saturday.

The North Wales Police Federation said some officers feared using force.

Simon Newport, who chairs the group, said: "The only way I think we can try and nip this in the bud or make it an issue where people think twice is for the courts to really get a grip of the sentencing powers.

"Sentence those responsible for assaulting my colleagues and other colleagues in the emergency services to decent, proper sentences.

"I think we've got to set some sort of benchmark now. If my officers are getting injuries that are taking them off work for a considerable amount of time or breakages in bones, then custodial sentences [are needed].

"If we've got to get the message through that way then yes [to jail terms]."

A new law came into force last year which doubles the maximum jail sentence to 12 months for those who assault or attack emergency workers.

Some of the 10 people taken into custody on Saturday night were not linked to the Welsh Cup match but the officer who needed hospital treatment suffered his injuries in the crowd trouble before the game near Nantporth Stadium.

Another officer was hurt in an unrelated incident.

"My personal view is that we've allowed a generation or two to think it's ok to go around doing what they want," Mr Newport told the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme.

"There's a saying that I use quite regularly. Everyone knows their rights, no-one knows their responsibilities.

'Fearful of using force'

"There's a minority of us in our communities that has a blatant disregard for anyone who holds a position of authority to try and uphold the peace.

"If you're going to assault a police officer or emergency worker and you think that's correct, you should be dealt with correctly in the court system."

He added: "A lot of my colleagues now are fearful that if they use force, which, as long as the impact factors are there, and they've got the just reason to use it, a complaint will come forth or come in."

Police are now appealing for witnesses to the clashes before the football match

Det Ins Andrew Gibson said: "We are keen to obtain any mobile phone footage or dash cam footage that may have captured the incident.

"Thankfully the officer injured during the incident has since been discharged from hospital."

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